What Do You Know about Living Wills?

While researching estate plans, you may learn about different wills. Where does a living will fit into your plan?

Mayo Clinic breaks down living wills and how they help protect your end-of-life wishes. Determine what to include on this will to take care of yourself and your loved ones.

The fundamentals

With a living will, you have a legal document that explains health care treatments and decisions you desire if you become uncommunicative. The legal document lets medical care providers and your family members know to take care of you if you become comatose or develop a medical condition like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

The medical choices

As you decide what to put on your living will think about your values. For instance, how important is it you maintain your independence? What medical circumstances do you feel make like unbearable? How do you feel about life-prolonging medical treatment?

Specific end-of-life decisions to address on the document include mechanical ventilation, CPR, dialysis, tube feeding, palliative care, antiviral medications and antibiotics. You may also use your living will to let your loved ones know whether you want to donate your organs or donate your body to science after you die.

The power of attorney

Aside from spelling out your end-of-life desires, you may also want to appoint someone to carry out your wishes or speak with your voice. A power of attorney document names a person to make medical decisions when you cannot. Even if you have a living will, it may not cover every medical situation. Creating a power of attorney could take care of those gaps.

You deserve to know you have a way to protect your right to choose. With a living will, you and your loved ones have one less thing to worry about if medical emergencies strike.