What is a living will?

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Carl S. Goode |

Regarding the estate plan, your living will is a component that addresses your healthcare. Your living will empower you to make decisions regarding your medical care. You make the decisions in advance, laying down what you want for your family members.

A living will can give you peace of mind that your family has to abide by your wishes.

Who needs a living will?

Only about 40% of all Americans have a living will. Some Americans assume that only those with severe illness or advanced age should have a living will, but this is not always true. Every person should have a living will because it considers your wishes if you become ill or experience a serious accident.

What is a living will?

Living wills are also called advanced healthcare directives. These documents allow you to specify your medical treatment preferences in case you can no longer communicate your wish due to incapacity. A living will is a guide for healthcare providers and your loved ones and may include your preferences as follows:

  • Whether you want to receive life-sustaining treatments like mechanical ventilation, artificial nutrition or CPR.
  • Your preferences for pain relief or palliative care so that you remain comfortable during your treatment.
  • Whether you want to remain an organ donor if you die.
  • Your preference for resuscitation. This may include DNR orders.

The living will protects your autonomy and does not allow for others to make decisions on your behalf without express permission.

Your living will is a legal document that aligns with your values and beliefs, serving as a guide for your loved ones if you can no longer decide about your medical care.

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