Making a living will is a job that many people overlook. It could be due to a lack of knowledge about what a living will is or a lack of interest in thinking about end-of-life matters. According to a recent survey of US residents, only 6% of people in this country have a living will.
What is a Living Will?
A living will also be known as a health care declaration, is a text that delineates the types of health care you want to be given if you’re in a medical condition that keeps you from speaking on your own behalf. Most combine this with a document known as a power of attorney for medical care. This specifies an agent who will make medical decisions for you in a situation where you can’t speak for yourself. In some states, you can combine these documents into one text known as an “advance directive.”
What Items to Include in Your Living Will
Your living will can contain any of your wishes regarding medical care. For instance, you can decide now if you ever to go on a ventilator if you cannot breathe on your own. If you have strong views for or against some form of medical treatment, you can convey your wishes in your living will. That way, your family members need not speculate about what you would like to have done.
When planning a living will, you should make sure to include items such as the following:
- Whether you would like to donate organs, tissues, or your entire body for use in medical research upon your death.
- What arrangements to make for your burial, such as a memorial observance.
- Your preferences regarding medical equipment to use to keep you alive.
- What should be done if you no longer recognize loved ones or friends.
- Whether your loved ones should give a “do not resuscitate” order if your heart stops beating or if you stop breathing.
Deciding on what types of care you want to include in a living will are a challenge. Most people consider not only their own preferences but also how their choices will impact their family members.
If you are ready to create a living will or have questions about the process, we would love to hear from you. The attorneys of Bell & Shaw Law, LLC have many years of experience helping clients draw up living wills. Call us today for a free consultation.