A living will, also known as an advance healthcare directive, is a legal document that outlines your preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care when you cannot communicate them due to mental or physical incapacitation.
It allows you to express your wishes about your preferred treatments or medical procedures. For example, you can specify whether you want to receive life-sustaining measures, such as artificial ventilation or feeding tubes. You can also choose to donate your organs if you wish.
The benefits of a living will
A living will gives you control over your medical decisions, even when incapacitated. It provides direction and guidance to healthcare professionals and loved ones, ensuring your medical preferences are respected and honored.
It also takes the burden of making such sensitive decisions away from your loved ones. Without express instructions on what should happen, your kin must make medical decisions on your behalf. This can lead to disagreements or fallouts among family members.
Having a living will also brings peace of mind knowing that your values and desires will be honored in the event of a medical crisis. It offers reassurance that your voice will be heard and your autonomy respected, even if you are not in a position to advocate for yourself.
Who needs a living will?
Many people think a living will is only for the elderly or the terminally ill.
The truth is that a living will is recommended for everyone, regardless of age or health status. Given the uncertainty of life, you never know what will happen in the next minute.
Seeking legal guidance when creating a living will is highly advisable to ensure the document is legally valid and covers all necessary aspects of your healthcare preferences.