What Is an Advanced Directive/Living Will?
An Advance Medical Directive, also called a “Living Will,” states your wishes as to life-sustaining treatment if there is no reasonable prospect of your recovery. This should not be confused with a “Do Not Resuscitate” order, in which a person in poor health elects to forego all life saving treatment.
Advance care planning is beneficial for everyone – not just seniors and those with existing conditions. Find out how Esworthy Law can help you in planning for your future health and medical care.
Flexibility in Planning for Future Medical Care
A Last Will and Testament is separate from the sort of Will you draft regarding medical treatment in the event of future disability or incapacitation. Advance Directives are often referred to as “living” Wills. Why? They are legal documents that are essentially “living” in the sense that an individual is able to make adjustments to their advance medical directive as their situation changes, their health changes, or as technology and healthcare themselves evolve. An easy way to tell the difference between these two types of Wills is this: a Last Will communicates what you want to happen after you pass away, while a Living Will communicates what you want to happen while you are still alive.
Make Your Own Decisions for End-of-Life Care
In the event that you become incapacitated due to an accident, illness, or injury and are unable to state your preferences for treatment or end-of-life decisions, the medical staff treating you may be responsible for making decisions for you regarding your care. In addition, they may look to your family members to make such decisions. Establishing a living will allows you to make your own decisions in advance by laying out the procedures and medications you want (or do not want) if you lose the capacity to state these wishes in the future. The Advance Medical Directive/Living Will can address:
- What you want to happen if you can no longer breathe on your own.
- Your wishes regarding feeding tubes if you can no longer feed yourself.
- The types of pain management medications you do or do not want.
- What life-saving medical procedures you will allow.
- How you feel about donating your organs or tissue after you pass away.
- Your wishes regarding treatment of specific existing medical conditions.
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