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A living will is a document that specifies your desires for medical treatment when you cannot give verbal consent. In other words, this document is an advanced directive. However, very few people have one, and that might be because they don’t understand the importance of them or how easily they can be written.
- Importance of a Living Will
Care during traumatic events is stressful, and if you are unable to give your consent or have your desires known, then it is up to your family to determine what you would want. The amount of strain this puts on loved ones is undefinable. Having a document that states your wishes regarding feeding tubes, resuscitation or end-of-life care can make a difficult situation somewhat easier for those you care most about.
- Write it While Healthy
A common mistake, especially made by younger people, is thinking a living will is unnecessary until they get sick. However, while some people live long, healthy lives, some get into accidents or are hit with illnesses that leave them incapacitated at a young age. Don’t wait and risk having your wishes ignored.
- Hire a Professional
While forms exist for self-preparation of a living will, it might be wise to consult with or hire an attorney. Estate lawyers can help answer all of your questions or concerns and can ensure that your wishes are clearly written down and recognized by the courts.
- Forms Are Available for Self-Made Wills
However, if you do not want to go through an attorney, you can file a living will on your own. Costs vary depending on the state, and the laws regarding living wills can differ as well. Although, every municipality likely has pre-filled forms that allow require you to fill in the blanks.
- Determine a Power of Attorney
The main thing that you want to be stipulated in a living will is your health care power of attorney. This individual will act on your behalf when you can’t, helping to enforce your living will.
- Inform Those That Matter Most
While an advanced directive is a legally binding document, doctors might be reluctant to honor them if there is disagreement among the family. Therefore, while it might be uncomfortable, you should have a conversation with your loved ones about your living will and your desires.
- Update When Necessary
Last, a living will, despite the name, is not a living document. The information on it may become outdated, or what was once your wishes are no longer. Therefore, update and review the will frequently.