A living will is a legal document that is part of your overall life planning. It relays, when you are unable to, your desires for life sustaining treatments. It does not go into effect until you are unable to communicate for yourself what are your desires. Unfortunately if you do not have one, the medical facilities will do everything they can to keep you alive. That would include keeping you on a breathing machine, feeding tubes, etc. If that is not your desire then you must have one.
A living will can also be referred to as a health care directive or a physician’s directive. You are the declarant of the document. It gets its name because it goes into effect while you are still alive.
As the declarant of the living will, you can make choices regarding certain life sustaining treatments that you may or may not want. It will become enforceable when you are no longer able to communicate for yourself. Therefore the doctors will rely on what you have declared as your desires.
You are happily putting around the house one day and start to feel sick. You call the paramedics and they transport you to the hospital. You lapse into an unconscious coma like state. The doctors will work to understand what has happened to you and if they can make it better. Your family is gathered and wondering what to do.
The doctors come back and say you have had a massive stroke and it is only a matter of a few days before you die. There are second opinions given and they all conclude the same thing. The family will want to do everything they can to keep you alive, but with this diagnosis they are only wasting time and money.
Your desire is to pass away peacefully. You do not want to be kept alive by artificial means. How do they know that? Why would they think that was your desire? Because you have a living will that tells them so. They only want to carry out your wishes, and no matter the grief, they will do as you wish.
It’s that simple. Maybe it’s not nice to think about, but the end is inevitable. It’s going to happen. It’s better for you and your loved ones to be prepared.
So how do you do this?
Most attorneys include a living will when planning your estate. If you have not planned your estate I encourage you to do so immediately. Just because you may not have lots of money or land or valuables to leave does not mean you don’t need a will. Read this http://www.easy-pim.com/estateplanning101.html.
The requirements for this document vary from state to state. Make sure you have a valid document for your state. You do not necessarily need an attorney to prepare it for you.
If you want to get one done quickly, there are
many sites that can help you. Check out the sites referred to on this page.
Your doctor or hospital can guide you to resources for creating your living will.
This document is not the only document you need for your advanced directives. You may also need a medical POA a DNR and organ donation card.