Are you wondering if you should create a Living Will? A Living Will, also referred to as Advance Directive or Medical Directive, is often confused with a Last Will and Testament. However, the two serve different purposes. A Living Will is a legal instrument used to describe the type of medical care you want if you fall terminally ill or become disabled. It provides advance directives to your caregivers and healthcare professionals regarding your preferences because you cannot make these decisions yourself.
Read on as we discuss the type of medical decisions you can make with a Living Will and the benefits of creating one.
What Medical Decisions Can You Make In a Living Will?
You can use a Living Will to describe the type of treatments you want or don’t want. It lets you plan ahead. As a result, you may avoid any unnecessary pain. Some examples of the treatments that you can include or exclude in a Living Will are:
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – Restarts your heart by delivering an electric shock or compressions. You can determine whether you want to be resuscitated using this method.
- Tube feeding – You can decide whether you want nutrients and fluids delivered to your body using tube feeding.
- Mechanical ventilation – Offers life support and helps you breathe.
- Dialysis – Helps your body remove waste and manage fluid levels if your kidneys stop functioning.
- Organ and tissue donations – You can choose to donate your organs for transplantation.
- Comfort care – Refers to palliative care administered to help with pain management and keeping you comfortable. Some examples include choosing to die at home, avoiding invasive treatments, and using pain medication.
- Administration of antibiotics and antiviral medications – You can choose whether you want to receive these medications for treating infections.
- Body donations – You can donate your body for the purpose of scientific study.
You can also choose when you want these treatments and the length of time that doctors can administer them.
Why Should You Create a Living Will?
According to the AARP, only 40% of Americans have a Living Will. Because you are young, you may think you don’t need one. However, it’s important to remember here that a Living Will doesn’t just benefit older people. Life is unpredictable and life-threatening situations at any time. If you are over 18 years old, preparing a Living Will can help you. Here are some reasons why you should create a Living Will.
1. It Gives Clarity to Your Loved Ones
When you create a Living Will, you communicate your wishes regarding the type of care you want. This helps your loved ones in a moment of crisis. They do not have to deal with the burden of making life-altering decisions. Moreover, it offers them closure and is a source of relief that they did everything the way you wanted.
2. You Get to Stay in Control
You can create a Living Will that reflects your personal beliefs and values. For instance, you may not want to receive CPR in the event of a heart attack because of its possible implications. If you become incapacitated, you have no way to communicate this. Without a Living Will, state laws indicate that someone close to you can make these decisions on your behalf.
In many cases, this individual may not know what your personal beliefs are. As a result, they may take decisions that they believe are in your best interests. However, they do not know what you want, which can take away your autonomy.
3. You Can Avoid Unnecessary Pain
Family members are often too distraught during moments of crisis when a loved one’s life hangs in the balance. They have trouble letting go. As a result, they are willing to do whatever they can so you may live a little longer.
For instance, suppose you need mechanical ventilation to continue breathing. You may not want this type of support. Having a Living Will can let your family members know you do not want painful and invasive treatments.
4. You Can Prevent Conflicts Between Family Members
If you become critically injured or fall into a coma, your family members need to choose a suitable course of action. However, this could lead to a conflict of opinions between your family members. They may have different opinions on the best course of treatment for you. Moreover, it can create feelings of resentment and anger, which can cause these relationships to break down.
With a Living Will, you can prevent such arguments. Since your wishes are clear, your family members can do as you say. As a result, the overall process becomes simpler.
5. You Can Offer Authorizations In Advance
Many medical treatments such as invasive surgery require the patient’s consent. If you become disabled, you cannot give authorization. However, a Living Will takes care of these issues. It ensures you receive the type of care you need and want without having to circumvent medico-legal issues.
6. Reduce Costs of Healthcare for Your Family
Healthcare treatments can be very expensive. For instance, if your family opts for long-term care, they may have to deal with significant healthcare expenses. When you create a Living Will, you can outline what treatments you want. This can also reduce and control these costs. Your family will know what you want them to do. Consequently, they can avoid any costly treatments against your wishes.
Wrapping It Up
It’s imperative to create a Living Will to avoid potential conflicts regarding the best course of treatment for you. Even if you are disabled and unable to express your wishes, a Living Will ensures you stay in control of the outcomes.
Not sure where to start? The US Will Registry allows you to create a Living Will. We have Living Will templates available for all states.
The US Will Registry also lets you register your Living Will and specify its location. If something were to happen to you, your family could use our registry to locate it quickly. This can allow your doctors to carry out the treatment as per your wishes.