A living will is a document that clearly states your desires concerning medical care. This is important if you find yourself unable to make decisions while having a terminal condition or in an unconscious state. Specifically, a living will outlines your opinions on life-sustaining treatments as well as directives concerning nutrition and hydration. Living wills do not change how health care providers deal with addressing pain. They do, however, allow you to state your wishes if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot communicate concerning treatment that may prolong life, but not improve it.
1. A living will states your priorities.
As long as you are over the age of eighteen and of sound mind, you can create a living will. A living will allows you to properly record what your priorities are when it comes to end-of-life care. In creating one, you do not need to answer to any other individual. If you desire to create one in line with your faith tradition, you are freely able to do it. Creating a living will allows you to state your priorities and will reduce the chances that others will make these decisions for you.
2. A living will relieves stress from your family.
Unlike a healthcare power of attorney, a living will does not delegate decision making to anyone else. This can relieve family members who would otherwise be charged in making such important decisions. In releasing family members of this duty, it can reduce the likelihood that family disputes arise concerning medical treatment.
3. A living will can keep medical costs in check.
Medical costs near the end of one’s life can spiral out of control if a high level of care is needed. Not all medical care is mandatory, and you may feel some types are unnecessary. A living will may control the amount of medical costs in situations where you choose to reject artificial life-sustaining treatment. This can provide financial peace of mind for your family as it ensures that treatment, which you have no desire for, does not occur.
4. The unexpected can occur at any time.
It could be years before you need a living will. However, it could also be used tomorrow if tragedy strikes. Executing living will ensures that your desires concerning care will be followed regardless of where or when the need arises.
5. Creating one is easy and inexpensive.
A living will is not an expensive document to create. Oftentimes, hospitals have general forms on hand for you to create a bare-bones version yourself. There is some mandatory language needed for a living will to be valid, so it is always wise to review it with your estate-planning attorney. As long as you are willing to confront the questions involved in the process, a living will can cause minimal stress and create a significant amount of value when it comes to peace of mind for you and your family.