A living will (more properly referred to as an Advance Directive) is a legal document that gives you the ability to make your end of life and permanent incapacitation choices, so that they are known in the event that you are later unable to express your wishes. The Advance Directive (called that because it allows you to direct your healthcare providers in advance) is usually done in conjunction with a Healthcare Power of Attorney, that allows you to name someone to handle your healthcare matters if you become incapacitated. The goal is to make sure your wishes are known and honored and to make these decisions as clear and as easy as possible for your family and healthcare team. Before you get started writing your Advance Directive, here’s what you should consider.
Your Healthcare Preferences
The advance directive allows you to decide your preferences if you become terminally ill, in a persistent vegetative state, or completely physically or mentally dependent, AND there is no reasonable chance of recovery: Do you want life sustaining treatment? Do you want artificial nutrition and hydration (usually intravenous, but sometimes feeding tubes)? Do you want your medical professionals to decide what is best?
Do you want to donate your organs upon your passing? Just as you have the option of listing yourself as an organ donor on your driver’s license in the event of an accident, you also have the option of donating your organs or other body tissues by stating that in your Advance Directive. You can choose a general organ donation, or elect to only donate specific organs.
You can use your Advance Directive to provide instructions on palliative care, stating whether or not you want pain medication or other measures to improve your comfort level. You can list medications you are comfortable receiving or list medications that you don’t want.
For your end-of-life decisions, you can also list special circumstances you want followed, such as what you want if you are pregnant, if you wish to spend your final days at home, if you want any decisions to be postponed until family members get there, even music you want to hear. Not all your requests may be possible, but your family will at least be aware of them.
Create a Comprehensive Living Will with DK Rus Law
A Living Will/Advance Directive is an important part of your estate plan. When it comes to creating a thorough, estate plan, it is recommended that you enlist the help of an experienced estate planning attorney like DK Rus Law. We’ll work with you to ensure that all your wishes are written clearly and that your Advance Directive is written in a way that clearly expresses your wishes and will be followed when you need it.
Get started now with a free consultation.