A living will is an important part of an estate plan. Living wills can be used to detail the type of healthcare you do or don’t want to receive in end-of-life situations, or if you become permanently incapacitated or unconscious. A living will tells your healthcare providers and your family what type of care you prefer in these situations, explains Yahoo Finance’s recent article entitled “How to Make a Living Will.” These instructions may address topics, such as resuscitation, life support and pain management. If you don’t want to be on life support in a vegetative state, you can state that in your living will.
A living will can be part of an advance healthcare directive that also includes a healthcare power of attorney. This lets your chosen healthcare proxy make medical decisions on your behalf, when you’re unable. A living will typically only applies to situations where you’re close to death or you’re permanently incapacitated; an advance directive can cover temporary incapacitation.
Ask an experienced estate planning attorney or elder care lawyer about the technical aspects of how to make a living will and include it in your estate plan. You should consider what to include. Every state is different, so your attorney will help you with the specifics. However, you’ll generally need to leave instructions on the following:
- Life-prolonging care, like blood transfusions, resuscitation, or use of a respirator;
- Intravenous feeding if you are incapacitated and cannot feed yourself; and
- Palliative care can be used to manage pain, if you decide to stop other treatments.
You will want to be as thorough and specific as possible with your wishes, so there is no confusion or stress for your family when or if the day arrives. You next want to communicate these wishes to your loved ones. You should also give copies of your living will to your doctor. If you’re drafting a living will as part of an advance healthcare directive in your estate plan, be certain that you get a copy to your healthcare proxy.
Review your living well regularly to make sure it’s still accurate because you may change your mind about the type of care you’d like to receive.
Ask your attorney to help you draft a living will along with a healthcare power of attorney, so all of the bases are covered as far as healthcare decision-making. When choosing a healthcare proxy, select a person on whom you can rely, to execute your wishes.
A living will is an important part of an estate plan and prepares your family for your death. If you would like to learn more about end-of-life care, please visit our previous posts.
Reference: Yahoo Finance (Feb. 18, 2021) “How to Make a Living Will”