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Living Wills And Medical Directives: What Is A Living Will?

A living will is a document which gives family members and medical professionals instructions on how to care for an individual if they become incapable of making decisions for themselves. If you become incapacitated due to a coma, a severe and unexpected injury, or advanced dementia, a living will provides guidance for doctors and loved ones as they navigate difficult decisions about how to continue caring for you or when to end life support.

A living will can dictate:

  • What medical procedures you may or may not want performed to prolong your life
  • What steps you may want taken to ensure your comfort during your treatment or death
  • Whether you wish to donate your organs, tissues or body after your death

A living will enables you to retain control over your medical care, even when you are no longer able to express your own wishes. Attorney JennyLynn Carey has the experience to help you make the important decisions your living will should describe.

How Can I Write My Living Will?

Living wills, like other medical directives, must be made in writing. Simply issuing verbal instructions to a medical provider or loved one does not serve as a legally-binding living will if you later become incapacitated.

Many states have templates for living wills that are available online through AARP or the American Bar Association. At JLCarey & Associates, PLLC, attorney JennyLynn Carey can help you include relevant details in this document, and that it is appropriately filed.

What Makes A Living Will Different From A Regular Will?

Despite their similar names, a living will is entirely different from a regular will (also called a ‘will and testament’).

A regular will describes how you want your assets to be divided after your death.

A living will describes the medical treatments and decisions you do or do want to be undertaken while you are still alive. It guides family members and medical providers when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.

Do Doctors Need To Know If I Have A Living Will?

Yes. As you develop your living will, you should talk with your doctor to make sure you are providing relevant information, and make sure your doctor has your living will on file once it is completed.

Living wills are not just for the elderly: a life-altering illness or injury can occur unexpectedly, and lead to incapacitation at any point in life. You should write your living will while you remain in good health, and continue to talk to your doctor to update this document as your life progresses.

An attorney can provide guidance and reassurance as you draft and change your living will. Attorney JennyLynn Carey will help you talk through important considerations and decisions, and can ensure your documents are properly filed and legally enforceable. For a free consultation, schedule a meeting by clicking this link.