A living will is another name for an advance health care directive. It allows you to give instructions about the care and treatment you want to receive in the event of an injury or illness that leaves you incapacitated.
It may be unpleasant to think about the prospect of a living will at first, but ultimately, it can provide peace of mind to both you and your family. You know that if you become incapacitated, you will not receive any treatment that is counter to your wishes, and your family will not have to make end-of-life decisions on your behalf while trying to guess at what you would have wanted. Here are some important questions to consider when planning a living will.
Where should you keep it?
As U.S. News and World Report correctly points out, having an advance health care directive will not do you any good if people cannot find it when needed. You should keep a copy at home and inform your family members where it is. You should also provide a copy to your doctor’s office. If you have appointed a personal representative or health care proxy to advocate for you in the event of your incapacitation, that person should also receive a copy of your living will.
What should it include?
Many people have strong feelings about life-preserving measures in the event of incapacitation. Some want doctors to make every attempt to save their lives, while others do not wish to live in a persistent vegetative state. Others want to receive comfort care but no resuscitation in the event that they stop breathing.
Your feelings about the matter are completely valid whatever they may be, but you should make an effort to express them as clearly as possible in your advanced health care directive.