When my dad was in the hospital several weeks ago, I was asked if he had a Living Will. I had no idea what a Living Will was or the importance of having one. I knew what a Last Will in Testament was and knew that my father had one in place, but even he was perplexed when the nurse questioned him about having a Living Will. I made a mental note to do some research to learn about what it was so we could have one in place just in case something like this happened again.
A Living Will is a legal document that specifies how you would like your body to be treated medically shall you become ill in terms of life support. A Living Will discloses if one would like to be put on life support, how long they should remain on life support, who should make decisions about the use of life support, etc. Having one in place ensures that the medical facility is following your instructions, and not the desires of a family member or friend. It also makes it easier for those closest to you to know what it is you want to do if you are at a point where you are seriously ill.
Some Living Wills also come with a Health Care Power of Attorney, which is in place to make sure your instructions are followed, and makes it pretty easy to kill two birds with one stone.
Talking about death is not an easy thing to do. When confronted with these delicate decisions, it can cause a lot of panic and disruption in a family. Having a Living Will in place may not make it easier for your family in terms of your choice, but puts it in black and white for the hospital, whose job it is to make sure the wishes of the ill are met.
If you do not have a Living Will, I strongly suggest you create one, for you never know what can happen. Once my father had recovered, we worked on a Living Will for him and it is now in place. I hope we never have to use it, but if we do, his desires will be protected and followed through.
You can create a Living Will through a service such as LegalZoom that is relatively inexpensive and relatively easy to prepare on your own. Or you can consult an attorney who specializes in this area of law to create the document for you. Keep in mind when hiring an attorney, the cost may be significantly higher.
Do you have a Living Will? If not, will you be creating one? Do you feel a Living Will is necessary? Comment below and let me know your thoughts.
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