What is a Living Will?

A living will is a legal document which informs your loved ones and medical staff of your wishes for treatment in the event that you are injured or diagnosed with a terminal or irreversible condition. Also known as a physician’s directive or an advance directive, once a living will has been executed it should become part of your medical record so that any health care professionals who treat you will be aware of your wishes for care. Your living will only takes effect in the event that you are incapacitated.

Why do you need a living will?

In the event that you are unable to communicate your wishes, the decisions about your care will be left with your loved ones. Decisions about whether or not to begin treatments, and whether or not to ultimately end life-sustaining treatment must be made by family members without the benefit of knowing what your desires would have been. Making a determination to end life support is an incredibly difficult decision that can lead to feelings of guilt and doubt for the individuals forced to make the choices. Your living will saves your family members from being forced to make those decisions and ensures that you only receive the treatments that you wanted.

What should be included in a living will?

Your living will should include determinations for different situations. For example, separate determinations should be made based on whether the condition is terminal or irreversible. Also, you can make requests that ensure that treatments are stopped or withheld or, conversely, you can request that you be kept alive with life-sustaining treatments. Each situation requires careful thought and consideration about the types of treatments you would want to receive, but once the decisions have been made, your living will ensures that your wishes will be respected.

Offer yourself and your family peace of mind knowing that the details of your care in the event of a serious injury or illness have already been arranged. We invite you to contact us and let Alexander Law Firm help you with your living will today.