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How can a living will affect my care plan?

On Behalf of | Mar 4, 2024 | Care Planning |

People often associate wills with instructions for when you die. But there is also one form of will that provides directives when you are still alive but can no longer decide for yourself. A living will, also called an advance directive, is a legal document specifying your wishes regarding your medical care. It identifies medical interventions that you prefer to have or not have.

Medical care in an emergency

Family members are often stuck with making difficult decisions in emergencies. When you have a living will, you can specify what medical treatment you want to receive when emergencies arise. You can be as specific as you want, but most people include instructions on:

  • Keeping life support when you fall into coma
  • Receiving surgical interventions
  • Performing resuscitation when you experience cardiac arrest
  • Donating your organs when you pass

Having a living will ensures that you will only receive medical treatment you consent to. It is crucial to inform your family and medical care provider about your living will to ensure they respect your wishes when making critical medical decisions.

Health care representative

When you write your living will, it is crucial that you also designate a representative who will ensure that your wishes will be respected and followed. They will be the ones who will make medical decisions on your behalf when you become incapacitated, so they must be someone you trust. You can formalize this through a healthcare power of attorney.

Different from a last will

While a living will expresses your wishes about your medical care, it does not cover your finances, property distribution or guardianship of children. It is important to craft a holistic estate plan that specifies your wishes for when you become incapacitated and when you pass away. It is best to have an estate plan ready while you are still in good health and with a sound mind. An estate planning lawyer can provide you with options that best suit your preferences for the future.