You may have heard people speak of a “living will” and wondered what they are talking about. A living will is also called an advance health care directive. But, no matter what you call it, every adult needs a legal document that tells your loved ones and doctors the medical care you want if you cannot make those decisions yourself.
Your living will outlines the procedures, medications, and treatments you want or do not want to prolong your life when you cannot make those decisions for yourself. Additionally, it can address if and when you want life support removed and whether you want hydration and nutrition supplied if that is the only thing keeping you alive. If these decisions need to be made and you haven’t provided specific instructions, decisions will be made, and they may not be the decisions that you would have chosen.
Don’t confuse a “living will” with a “last will.” A “last will” sets forth what happens to your property and wealth after you die. A living will sets forth what medical treatment you want while alive.
A healthcare or medical power of attorney is another part of advanced healthcare directives. The healthcare power of attorney is the legal document that names who will make the healthcare decisions for you. Simply put, a medical power of attorney names those who can make medical decisions in the event of your incapacity, while a living will explains what medical care you want.
A living will is a vital part of every adult’s estate plan, as it can ensure your medical treatment is handled exactly the way you want if you cannot communicate. Without a living will, your loved ones are left to make difficult decisions which can result in conflict, stress, and guilt.
We all know that unforeseen illness or injury could strike at any time. Don’t wait to plan. We can assist you to ensure your medical treatment and end-of-life care is tailored to suit your unique needs and wishes and provide counseling and guidance in decision-making.