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What is a Living Will, and Why Do You Need One?

March 30, 2017

what is a living willAlthough end-of-life legal documents such as wills, living wills, and power of attorney are important topics for every family to discuss regardless of age, it is a conversation that many put off. In this post we will discuss what a living will is, why it is important that you have one in place, and items to take into consideration when creating one.

What Is A Living Will?

Though it may initially seem like an unneeded conversation, having a living will can give you peace of mind that you will receive the medical care you desire in the case of an unforeseen medical emergency. Having this documentation in place will also allow you to rest assured that that your loved ones will not have to worry about stressful medical decisions regarding your medical care in emergency scenarios.

A living will is a legal document that specifies the type of medical treatment you want—and do not want—to receive during emergency situations if you are unable to communicate your wishes. This includes a wide range of medical decisions including treatments used to keep patients alive, including resuscitation and mechanical ventilation, organ donation, and pain management. What is included in a legal will varies from state to state depending on specific laws.

Why Do You Need a Living Will?

There are two main reasons that having advance directives such as a living will are critical. First, and most importantly, a living will ensures that you will be able to make significant medical decisions for yourself—even if you are not able to communicate.

Secondly, planning ahead about your health care wishes in unforeseen circumstances will ease the burden of care placed on your loved ones and keep them from having to make stressful decisions regarding your medical care. When it comes to families, having this documentation in place can also help avoid tense arguments over medical care.

Important Considerations

When it comes to creating a living will, it is key to figure out what you want to take place in the case of an emergency medical situation. According to the American Bar Association it is important to consider your values and beliefs as you decide on your wishes, as many provisions in these documents can “have profound religious and philosophical implications.”

In order to determine what you value when it comes to end-of-life care, the Mayo Clinic suggests asking yourself some important questions including:

-Do you want to receive treatment only if there is a cure available?
-What situations, such as a lack of self-sufficiency, would make you feel your life was not worth living?
-In what situations would you want treatment to extend your life?

As you can see, there are many reasons that having a living will is important—no matter what your age. Creating a living will may seem like a daunting, and somewhat depressing, task. However, by taking the time to put your wishes into a legal document, you will save yourself and your family from much stress in the case of a catastrophic event.

When creating a living will, we suggest consulting with a lawyer to ensure your document is correctly executed. If you are looking for an attorney in the Gallatin area to assist you with your living will, the team at Ken Phillips Law is here to help you. Feel free to contact us today at (615) 461-7174 with and questions that you may have about creating a living will for yourself or a family member.

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