Far too many people make the mistake of only creating a last will instead of a comprehensive estate plan if they even bother to consider what happens when they die at all.

However, if you experience an incapacitating accident or medical event, your loved ones will have more concerns than just how to split up your assets in the event that you die. They will need help with making medical decisions when you can not do so on your own behalf.

An advance medical directive is a document that explains to people what your medical wishes are. There are three straightforward reasons why you should probably include an advance medical directive in your estate plan.

An advance medical directive makes your wishes known

No matter how much you love someone, you may not relish the idea of discussing difficult topics, such as what kind of medical care you want if you experience a coma or wind up on life support indefinitely. Different people have vastly different preferences in these situations, which is one reason why making an advance medical directive is in your best interest.

Your family members may think they know you, but they may not actually know your personal preferences about the medical care you would receive if you aren’t able to speak for yourself. If there’s any reason to doubt that people will remember what you prefer regarding things like organ donation or life support, committing it to writing will give you better peace of mind.

You don’t want your loved ones going through any more hardship

If there is anything more difficult than suddenly having a close family member experience intense medical events that leave them incapacitated, it is desperately trying to make decisions on behalf of that individual when you are already emotionally compromised.

Stress and intense emotions can affect memory, making people more vulnerable to mistakes in recall during times of pressure. Simply put, needing to make medical decisions on your behalf could be traumatic for your loved ones without guidance about your wishes.

An advance medical directive ensures that you get the care you deserve

Both family members and medical practitioners often have to make judgment calls in the treatment of someone left incapacitated by an illness or injury. An advance medical directive will let your wishes and preferences guide the decision that medical professionals or your loved ones make on your behalf, ensuring that your ethical, religious and personal beliefs get upheld at a time when you cannot speak for yourself.