A living will is a very important document to have in-hand and on file with your medical professionals at all times in life; not just later in life or when you decide to do your entire estate plan.
A Bolinger Law Firm estate planning lawyer can assist you in creating a living will explaining the life-prolonging medical treatments you would allow or withhold should you ever be unable to make such decisions due to being incapacitated.
It is challenging to reflect upon our own mortality, but do so for a moment and consider the many benefits of a living will. It provides you with the opportunity to state your desires, giving you a voice in life-prolonging medical decisions when you may not otherwise have that voice.
Situations arise where you may become incapacitated and the doctors don't believe you will regain health or capacity ever again. Often, without a living will, medical staff is bound by their oath to prolong or attempt to save a life at all costs, regardless of time, expenses, and agony to loved ones.
A living will fills in the gray areas as to the different kinds of medical treatments that you want utilized or withheld. In situations where there is no hope yet medical treatments can go on for months or even years, you have the right to express what you would want done. For example, if you’re in a coma that is unlikely to be reversed, you may wish to donate your organs and have medical staff stop life-support.
At Bolinger Law Firm, we’ll help you accurately express your wishes for life-prolonging medical treatments in a legally-binding living will that medical staff and loved ones will be obligated to follow.
A living will should always be accompanied with a durable health care power of attorney so that your trusted personal representative, or your appointed “attorney-in-fact,” may uphold decisions regarding your life-prolonging medical treatment and care in accordance with your living will.
It’s very important that the person you choose to be your attorney-in-fact is trustworthy and willing to make the most difficult life-altering decisions when the time comes.
When thinking about your end-of-life medical decisions, you need to consider an array of specific medical procedures or treatment that you would want withheld. Additionally, you need to consider the satisfactory quality of life that you want in the event that death is imminent.
You will also want to consider any religious or personal beliefs that may affect the life-prolonging treatments that you want utilized. Since there are numerous factors to account for, it is important to speak with an estate planning lawyer to discuss all applicable considerations and to ensure that your wishes are accurately detailed in your living will.
In your living will, you can specify the utilization or withholding of surgery or other invasive procedures, heart-lung resuscitation, antibiotics, respirators, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, tube feedings, forced feedings, and dialysis, to name a few. If there are additional procedures that you want withheld or utilized, your living will can specify those other treatments and state your wishes regarding them.
A living will solely specifies your wishes concerning life-prolonging treatments and procedures in the event that you are unable to communicate them to your medical provider. The durable health care power of attorney grants the person you choose to be your attorney-in-fact the power to make the medical decisions.
As stated earlier, when the durable health care power of attorney and living will are coupled together, the attorney-in-fact will make medical treatment decisions based only upon the exact directions in your living will, nothing else.