A living will is essential in a medical crisis.
Families commonly have to make truly challenging decisions regarding health care of loved ones.
Often these choices involve whether to provide life-sustaining treatments.
The burden of this responsibility is heavy indeed.
According to a recent Forbes article titled “How Does A Living Will Work?,” advanced planning for incapacity can lighten the weight of this responsibility.
What does this advanced planning involve?
The first step is to create a durable power of attorney for health care.
With this legal document, you can designate one agent or several agents to make medical choices in your stead should you be unable to do so for yourself.
In addition to a durable power of attorney for health care, a living will is key.
What does a living will accomplish?
A living will allows you to specifically provide direction regarding whether you wish to receive life support or life-sustaining treatment if you are not expected to recover.
The terms of the living will should only apply in instances where the individual who created and signed the document has an irreversible or incurable medical condition with a limited life expectancy.
Often this limited time period is defined as six months or fewer.
What life-sustaining treatments are addressed in this document?
These treatments include dialysis, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), heart-lung machines, feeding tubes to provide nutrition, IVs or feeding tubes to provide hydration, and ventilators.
You can also provide instructions on palliative care or pain management.
By outlining specific instructions and information in your living will, you can rest knowing your health care agent is making decisions based on the wishes you shared.
Creating a living will allows you to exercise authority at the end of your life rather than leaving it solely in the hands of loved ones.
Reference: Forbes (Aug. 18, 2022) “How Does A Living Will Work?”