When to Consider a Living Will

by | Mar 21, 2016 | Lawyers

A living will, also known as an advance directive, is a document that communicates your wishes for end-of-life medical care, or medical care in the event that you become incapacitated.

Creating a Living Will

Many people hire a lawyer to assist them with their living will, as requirements may vary depending upon the state in which you reside. However, if you’ve already contacted a wills lawyer in Lincolnshire for estate planning, it’s wise to also discuss the creation of your living will, advises Orlowsky & Wilson. In addition to your directives to physicians and medical staff, you can also elect to legally appoint a health care agent. This should be a person whom you can trust to carry out your wishes if you are no longer unable to express them yourself. Even with an advance directive, situations can occur which will require someone else to make a decision regarding your care. According to CNN, this person should be able to understand your medical information, be able to handle heavy stress when it comes to making difficult decisions, and be able to keep your wishes and best interests in mind during those decisions.

Who Should Have a Living Will?

The short answer to this question is: everyone. The current statistics are a bit problematic; according to The Washington Post, it’s likely that a majority of Americans over the age of 65 do not have a living will. While it might seem unpleasant or morbid, once you are over the age of 18, you are considered an adult when it comes to decisions about medical care. Therefore, it’s wise for all adults over the age of 18 to have an advance directive, as there’s no way of knowing what lies ahead.

What Can a Living Will Include?

A living will can be as in-depth as you wish. Most commonly, directives for physicians will include DNR (do not resuscitate) and DNI (do not intubate). Your living will can also specify whether or not you’d like any of the following carried out, and if so, for how long:

  • Ventilation
  • Feeding tubes
  • Palliative care (end of life pain and comfort management)
  • Acceptance of nursing home care

This list is not necessarily exhaustive, but it’s a good starting point when it comes to thinking about your personal wishes.

It’s never too early to create your living will. If you’re not sure about the process, you can always consult with a lawyer to make sure that you understand all aspects in full, and to properly appoint a health care agent. When it comes to your medical wishes and care, don’t wait until it’s too late.

Let Orlowsky & Wilson help you plan for the future. Contact us for more information about our experienced legal services.