A Living Will is an important document that allows a person to state in advance his or her wishes with regards to medical treatment and end-of-life care. Its main purpose is to provide doctors and health care providers with information about the patient’s preferences and decisions in situations when they are unable to communicate such information personally. As such, it is often regarded to be an important part of a solid estate plan and many estate planning attorneys advise their clients to consider its potential advantages. In this article, we will look at 3 of the most significant benefits of drafting a Living Will.
The right to refuse any specific treatment is one of the fundamental rights of a patient. A patient may object to a medical procedure on moral or religious grounds or because they feel that its risks outweigh potential benefits. In a Living Will, you may clearly define what kind of treatments and medical procedures you are willing to accept and which you reject. You can even include a Do Not Resuscitate order in your Living Will. Medical staff is legally obliged to respect all such wishes even if you are unconscious or have become incapacitated.
Without specific guidance from the patient itself, it is up to the family to decide whether a permanently unconscious patient’s life should be sustained interminably or not. In such situations, distressed family members may choose not to discontinue the treatment even though a cure is not available. However, such a decision often entails a huge financial burden that the family will have to shoulder for years to come. If you wouldn’t like your life to be artificially prolonged in the event of terminal illness, permanent loss of consciousness or a similar end-of-life situation, you may clearly state your wishes in the Living Will.
If you are unconscious or incapacitated and have no Living Will in place, any decision with regards to medical treatment and care will likely be made by a close family member. When under stress and emotional pressure, your family may make a decision that’s contrary to your wishes even if you have communicated your preferences to them. Having a Living Will, on the other hand, is a guarantee that doctors and health care professionals will respect your wishes even if your family members don’t agree with them.
After reviewing the most important benefits of having a Living Will you may now clearly see the need to create one. Our experienced estate planning attorneys will answer all your questions about the legal aspects of the process and help you create a Living Will that’s tailored to your unique needs.
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