Should You Include Psychiatric Advance Directives in Estate Plan as You Age?

Comprehensive estate planning today includes elder law and other strategies that help protect your assets and interests if you experience cognitive decline or incapacity. Have you thought about protecting your mental health and care if you can't advocate for yourself? Based on the Trust & Will article “Guide to Psychiatric Advance Directives - What You Need to Know,” we explore psychiatric advance directives (PADs), their purpose and how to establish them.

What are Psychiatric Advance Directives?

You might not have heard of psychiatric advance directives (PADs). However, they might be an important strategy in your estate plan. PADs are instructions and preferences for your mental health care. Similar to a living will or advance medical directives, PADs are a legal document outlining your preferences for psychiatric treatment should you become unable to make decisions due to a mental illness crisis. Picture it as your roadmap, guiding healthcare providers on your treatment choices, from medications to therapies, even during challenging times when communication might be difficult.

What Is the Purpose of Psychiatric Advance Directives?

Psychological and physical health are essential for an individual's overall wellness. Psychiatric advance directives proactively communicate your psychological treatment preferences,  empowering an advocate for your mental health care.

Consider it a letter of instructions to a trusted friend or family member and your healthcare team, ensuring that your wishes are respected and understood regarding your choice of psychiatric provider and mental health facility.

How Do I Establish Psychiatric Advance Directives?

You probably know about advance medical directives and medical powers of attorney in estate planning. Most PADs have these two components. It's crucial to meet state-specific requirements, such as being of legal age and having witnesses. Remember, PADs come into effect when you're determined unable to make mental health decisions, often by a qualified mental health professional.

Key Psychiatric Advance Directives (PADs) in Estate Planning Takeaways:

  • What Are PADs? PADs are legal documents that include advance medical directives and powers of attorney outlining one’s mental health wishes.
  • Why Have PADs? Instructions and guidance for psychological care when an individual is incapacitated.
  • How to Establish PADS? Requirements are the same as advance medical directives and a medical POA.


Your mental health matters, and we're here to support you every step of the way. Are you ready to take the next step in securing your mental health care journey? Schedule a consultation today and embark on a journey of empowerment and peace of mind.

Reference: Trust & Will “Guide to Psychiatric Advance Directives - What You Need to Know,”

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