• Marie-Yves Nadine Jean-Baptiste

I’m Under 50 Years Old, Do I Need an Advance Directive?

Updated: Oct 9, 2021

The easy answer to the question as to whether you need an advance directive under the age of 50 years old is: “Yes.” People of every adult age can have in place an Advance Directive or a Living Will, especially if you are responsible for taking care of children, elderly parents, other family members or if you have a medical issue or noted co-morbidities. Having an advanced directive is a good idea at any age, and here are some reasons why this is true.

The advance directive is a document that will advise healthcare providers of your ultimate wishes for healthcare management of your condition, diagnosis and end-of-life choices, if you were to be rendered incapacitated or otherwise unable to make those important healthcare decisions for yourself. For example, a person who is 49 years old can still sustain an unexpected traumatic brain injury as the result of a serious accident (car accident, fall accident, sports accident, hiking accident, skiing accident, pedestrian accident, accident while traveling in a different country, etc.), and fall into a coma.

Once a person goes into a coma, it is difficult to know if the person will be perpetually comatose, come out of the coma with all brain faculties intact, or have long-lasting and permanent brain damage from which there is no recovery. This can occur from any accident involving the brain, and it will never matter the age of the person. An elderly person in some cases is as likely to come out of a coma, as a middle-aged person is to not come out of a coma, these results are never written in stone before an injury as to how the end diagnosis will result.

When Is an Advance Directive Appropriate to Have on File?

The advance directive will detail any care choices when an individual is in a coma, on life support or unlikely to recover from being unconscious. When a person’s end-of-life decisions are outlined well in advance of being needed, it is easier for the family to handle this situation knowing the wishes of the person unable to speak those wishes out loud.

Rules for Advance Directives

Advance directives can be written down in a formal document or orally stated to a family member or witness.

A written directive must be:

  • Voluntarily made by the person

  • Made by a competent person

  • Signed and dated

  • Two witnesses must also sign (usually not a healthcare provider)

An oral advance directive must be:

  • Voluntarily made by the person

  • Made by a competent person

  • Made to the attending physician and another witness

  • Must be documented in the person’s medical records, also signed and dated by a witness

Carrying Out the Advance Directive

A family member or healthcare agent will carry out the person’s or patient’s wishes as stated in the advance directive. The person responsible for carrying out the wishes is responsible to make sure that the person’s care per the advance directive is being followed, and will take into consideration the impact on the person, the family members, and the situation.

Speak to a Maryland Advanced Directives Attorney Today

Advance directives can give a patient and the patient’s family peace of mind when the patient enters a stage of care that will require difficult medical care decisions to be made. Any time that you have questions about advance directives, estates, trusts, or wills, we are here for you to answer these concerns that you might have. Schedule a consultation with our office and we can also go over many different types of advance directives with you and explain the finer details and applications of this type of document. We are ready to sit with you to give you the peace of mind that you seek in these types of difficult family medical situations.


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