Living Wills and End-Of-Life Instructions

 

A Living Will is not the same thing as a Last Will & Testament, which provides instructions for dividing your estate upon death. Instead, a Living Will describes your end-of-life health care preferences, and what is to happen if you become permanently unconscious and there is no hope of any recovery.

Your preferences for whether life support be withdrawn or not is only used after your health care agent and doctor(s) decide, together, that you have reached the point where there is no hope of any recovery.

Often, this is a difficult decision for many of our clients. Religious beliefs, personal feelings about death, and other considerations can affect a person’s end-of-life wishes.

It is crucial that you have a Living Will, regardless of the choices you make regarding your preferences.

Here are a few reasons why having this document is important:

  • Gives your health care agent/family certainty over your preferences
  • If your preference is to end your life when there is no hope for recovery, a hospital and doctor need to know
  • Avoids unnecessary conflict/uncertainty/bad feelings within your family
  • Gives you peace of mind knowing that you have control over this situation if you were ever to be in it.

Your Living Will should generally be reviewed every 3-5 years, and re-drafted and executed every 5-10 years. Why do you need to re-write it every 5-10 years? If you don’t, a hospital or doctor can question the validity of the document and your preferences, since they are considered outdated.

 

 

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