Everyone can make their own decisions regarding their health, including the medical treatments they decide to receive. But if the unthinkable happens and you become unable to make those decisions for yourself, then you should consider making a living will in addition to your last will.
In this post, we’ll look at what is a living will, why they are important and how you can make one to better prepare for the future.
Also known as an advance care directive, a living will is a legal document that lets doctors and medical caregivers know what medical care you want if you’re unable to communicate your wants due to an accident, severe illness, dementia or coma. It also lets your loved ones know how you would like to sustain your quality of life and what decisions they might need to make.
The future of your health is uncertain, but you may have values and ideas but how you intend to live out the rest of your life. A living will ensure that your health and medical wishes you hold while you’re of sound mind happen if and when you become unable to communicate those wishes later on.
To keep your loved ones from making difficult decisions about any medical treatments you might need, the living will is a legally binding document that provides instructions about future medical treatment that you consent to or refuse.
You can also use this document to list preferences based on values and cultural beliefs. For example, you can include that quality of life is essential or you wish for euthanasia if the quality of life doesn’t reflect your values.
The document will typically include an appointed decision-maker on your behalf, your values and preferred outcomes and any medical treatments that you would like or would refuse if you could communicate. To make a living will, you must have decision-making capacity and don’t need to engage a lawyer.
The forms and requirements for building for your living will vary from each state and territory, but you can download the documents needed online. Once you’ve written your living will, you will need your doctor and appointed decision-maker to sign it. Keep it accessible similar to your Last Will and consider reviewing your living will as often as your values or medical conditions change.
Whether it’s your last will or living will, creating a legally binding document that ensures making decisions about you and your estate is more straightforward for your loved ones. Both records should be kept safe, up-to-date and those you have appointed as executors or decision-makers should be made aware of the documents and where you are keeping them.
Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. This blog should not be relied upon as legal, financial, accounting or tax advice.