Preparation for a Living Will
A living will is an extremely useful document that outlines your wishes for medical treatment in the event you become incapacitated or diagnosed with a terminal illness. This document could help you avoid conservatorship or guardianship issues. The main difference between a will and living will is when they each go into effect. A will only goes into effect after death while a living will goes into effect once a person becomes incapacitated before death.
If you decide to create a living will to avoid future legal issues, consider the following:
- If I cannot take care of my financial affairs, who should I think about designating to handle these affairs?
- If I cannot make health decisions about my personal health, who do I feel most comfortable with making these decisions for me?
- What if some of my relatives may be too young to trust in these situations?
- At what point do I want these persons whom I designated to take over making these decisions?
You may also want to think about the types of events you may wish to address in your living will. Frame your inquiries in terms of whether you wish the hospital or medical professions to administer any or all of the following:
- Artificial Nutrition and/or Hydration
- Major Surgery
- Respiration-Mechanical or Artificial
- Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
- Kidney Dialysis
- Other Organ Transplants
- Invasive Surgery or Diagnostics Tests
These may not be the most pleasant thoughts; however, these decisions should be made while you are clear-thinking and not under the pressure or weight of actually having these procedures done to you. You may also have a number of other medical-related decisions and ramifications to immerse yourself in should this situation ever present itself to you or your family.
Give serious consideration to who you wish to designate as the person to handle these decisions for you. Remember, there will be a great responsibility on the part of that person, and these decisions may not be so easy if they ever have to be made. If you designate a person outside your family, that that person might face serious pressure or difficulty from your family members, who may decide they know your wishes best. Such problems can even manifest themselves in lawsuits that place the person you designated in a serious "bind". Be sure to consider these potential conflicts and be fair to the persons you wish to designate in your living will.
Also, you need to be sure that your living will meets your state laws and statutes. To be sure that it does, please feel free to contact member services and speak to