Should you suffer an incapacitating injury or illness, you may not have the ability to make medical decisions for yourself. Therefore, these potentially life-and-death choices will typically fall to your family members.
You likely trust your loved ones to make health care decisions based on medical advice and what they think you would want. However, sometimes issues arise when others must make these types of choices. Having a living will in place allows you to guide your family members, even if you cannot speak or choose for yourself.
Outlining your wishes
According to Health.com, through a living will, you will spell out the types of medical treatments you would or would not want. For instance, this includes indicating if you want CPR should your heart stop or to have physicians place you on ventilation to aid with breathing if you can no longer do so on your own. You should keep in mind that the living will provides guidelines for medical care. It does not authorize a specific person to make choices on your behalf.
Providing long-term guidance
Unlike forms the hospital or outpatient medical facilities sometimes ask you to sign before undergoing procedures or receiving treatment, living wills do not typically expire. Rather, such a document will generally stay in place until you modify or revoke it.
Largely due to their own feelings and beliefs, family members do not always agree on the types of medical treatments they would want in a life-threatening medical situation. Should someone need to step up to make decisions for you, then, this sometimes leads to family disputes. By laying out your wishes in a living will, it makes clear what you would want, potentially relieving some of the pressure.
When young and otherwise healthy, estate planning may seem unnecessary. However, estate planning involves more than simply passing on assets to beneficiaries. Therefore, you may consider setting up advance care directives with a lawyer to ensure your wishes get carried out.