Suppose you are severely incapacitated by an illness or a catastrophic injury and unable to communicate your medical wishes effectively. How long should you be kept on life support? Should doctors attempt a delicate surgery that may keep you alive but reduce your quality of life? What about your pain management and palliative care options?
Without your say, making such sensitive health care decisions can be extremely difficult. It is why you need to have a legal document outlining your medical care preferences and end-of-life wishes should you become incapacitated.
This document is often known as a living will. Below are some of the benefits of this useful estate planning tool.
It allows you to make your own decisions
By creating a living will, you can decide about the medical care and treatment procedures you would like to receive if you cannot communicate your wishes. This includes instructions on life-sustaining treatments and your wishes regarding organ donation and funeral arrangements.
In addition, a valid living will is legally enforceable. Therefore, you can have confidence that your instructions will be carried out.
Your loved ones will not have to bear the burden of making these decisions
Without a living will, your loved ones must make health care decisions on your behalf. It can lead to disagreements and emotional stress since such decisions may be permanent or life-changing. Outlining your wishes in advance can help alleviate the burden on your loved ones and prevent conflict.
It allows you to plan ahead
You can prepare for medical expenses in advance with a living will, which can help protect your loved ones’ financial interests. For instance, you can specify what accounts or insurance policies should be used to cover your medical expenses and help ensure that your loved ones are not stuck with expensive medical bills.
Do you need a living will?
A living will is particularly crucial if you are in your sunset years or have a terminal illness or a debilitating condition. That said, life is unpredictable and as young or healthy as you may be, an unexpected injury or illness can leave you incapacitated.
As such, learning more about how living wills work and ensuring you have one is in your best interests. Having legal guidance in creating one is crucial.