A living will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for medical care in the event that you are unable to communicate them yourself.
It can include things like whether or not you want to be resuscitated, what kind of pain management you would prefer, and what kind of life-sustaining treatment you would or would not want.
Creating a living will is an important part of advance care planning. It can help ensure that your wishes are followed in the event that you become seriously ill or injured and are unable to communicate your preferences yourself.
If you have a living will, it is important to keep it up to date and make sure that your loved ones and healthcare providers are aware of its existence and know where to find it.
If you do not have a living will, now is a good time to create one. You can use this article to get started.
Before you begin, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- In most states, you must be 18 years of age or older to create a living will.
- You do not need to have a lawyer to create a living will, but you may want to consult with one to ensure that your document is legal and binding in your state.
- Your living will should be signed and dated by you and witnessed by two other adults.
You can speak with an estate planning attorney or an elder law attorney about setting up a living will in your area.
Why Do I Need a Living Will?
Without a living will, your family and loved ones may have to make difficult decisions about your care without knowing what you would want.
A living will takes the guesswork out of end-of-life decision-making and gives your loved ones the peace of mind of knowing that they are carrying out your wishes.
How Do I Make a Living Will?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the specifics of your living will will be unique to you and your situation.
However, there are some general tips that can help you get started:
1. Talk to your family and loved ones about your wishes for end-of-life care. This will help them understand your wishes and make it easier for them to act on them if the need arises.
2. Choose a person (or persons) to be your health care proxy. This is the person who will make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.
3. Make sure your living will is in writing and that your health care proxy has a copy of it. You should also keep a copy in a safe place, such as with your other important legal documents.
4. Review your living will periodically and update it as needed. This is especially important if your health care needs or wishes change over time.
5. Be specific in your instructions. For example, if you have religious beliefs that you want taken into account, make sure to mention them.
6. Be sure to sign and date your living will. It should also be witnessed by two adults who are not related to you.
7. Keep in mind that a living will is only one part of your advance care planning. You should also consider creating a health care power of attorney or appointing a health care proxy. These documents can complement your living will by appointing someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.
8. Keep your living will in a safe place where it can easily be found and accessed by your loved ones and health care providers. You may want to keep a copy with your important papers, give copies to your health care proxy or agent, and provide a copy to your doctor.
9. Be sure to review your living will periodically and update it as needed to reflect any changes in your health or treatment preferences.
10. Remember that a living will is not a static document. You can change your mind at any time about the medical treatments you do or do not want to receive. If you change your mind, simply destroy any old copies of your living will and create a new one that reflects your current wishes.
Making a living will is an important step in planning for your future health care. By clearly stating your treatment preferences in advance, you can help ensure that your wishes are followed if you are ever unable to communicate them yourself.
What Is The Main Drawback Of A Living Will?
The main drawback of a living will is that it only applies in specific circumstances. For example, if you are in a coma or otherwise unable to communicate your wishes, your living will would likely be followed.
However, if you are able to communicate your wishes but do not have a living will, your health care providers may not necessarily know what you want.
In addition, living wills only cover medical decisions, so they would not apply in other areas of your life, such as financial or legal matters.
Another potential drawback of a living will is that it can be difficult to anticipate all of the possible scenarios in which you may need medical treatment.
As a result, you may want to appoint a health care proxy, or durable power of attorney for health care, to make sure that your wishes are carried out.
A health care proxy is someone you designate to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.
What Is The Difference Between A Will And A Living Will?
A will is a legal document that outlines how you would like your assets to be distributed after you die.
A living will, on the other hand, is a document that outlines your medical wishes in the event that you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
One of the key differences between a will and a living will is that a will takes effect after you die, while a living will takes effect while you are still alive.
This means that if you were to become incapacitated, your living will would direct your medical care, while your will would direct the distribution of your assets.
Another key difference is that a will is a public document, while a living will is a private document. This means that anyone can request to see your will, but only those you designate can see your living will.
Finally, it’s important to note that a will can be changed at any time, while a living will is more difficult to change. This is because a living will is a legal document that outlines your specific wishes, while a will is more of a general document.
So, what’s the difference between a will and a living will?
Essentially, a will takes effect after you die, while a living will takes effect while you are still alive. Additionally, a will is a public document, while a living will is a private document.
Finally, a will can be changed at any time, while a living will is more difficult to change.