Having a living will (also called an advance health care directive, or do-not-resuscitate/DNR), should be a major part of your estate planning. A Living Will states your wishes in the event you are on life support and can’t communicate your end-of-life wishes. A living will only take effect if you’re within hours of dying, in an irreversible coma, or a persistent vegetative state and can no longer communicate your wishes. It spares your family and loved ones, the agony of making life support decisions without your input.
Who Should Have A Living Will?
Any person over the age of 18 should have one – life is precious, and our time may come at any moment. If that’s not enough, here are some extra reasons you need obtain one:
- Your health is declining
- If you’re going to have surgery or hospitalization
- If you have a terminal condition with no hope of recovery
Having one will state your wishes so that they will be carried out.
What Should You Have in Your Living Will?
Choosing what to put in your living will is entirely up to you. You can be as specific or broad as you want. However, there are areas you should cover. You’ll need to have your wishes in writing regarding the most common life sustaining treatments. Your living will will give guidance for the following:
- Do you want CPR or Fibrillation? Do you want doctors to restart your heart if it stops?
- Do you want breathing tubes inserted? Do you want doctors to take measures to help you breathe, such as inserting tubes or hooking you up to a ventilator?
- Do you want to be fed or hydrated? If you’re in a vegetative state do you want the hospital to feed or hydrate you?
- Do you want to be put on dialysis? If your kidneys stop functioning do you want to be put on a dialysis machine?
- Do you want pain killers? Do you want any pain medicine administered?
In addition to a Living Will, you will also want to consider preparing a Health Care Power of Attorney to designate someone to make healthcare decisions for you, and a Durable Power of Attorney to make financial decisions for you. For more information about creating a living will or a comprehensive estate plan contact us today or call 336-283-6198.