No one wants to think about medical emergencies, but there are certain situations in which you may not be able to make your wishes known with regard to the medical care you receive. A living will is a powerful estate planning tool that allows you to outline your thoughts and preferences when it comes to the health care you receive. It also gives your loved ones something to reference if you are unable to voice your wishes yourself.
The living will may come into play in two circumstances. The first is if you have a terminal illness, and the second is if you become permanently unconscious. When drafting your living will, you may want to give careful consideration to the following.
Whether you want a “do not resuscitate” order
A do not resuscitate order means that you do not want physicians to keep you alive by artificial means if your heart stops or your breathing ceases. You have the option to specify whether you would want doctors to use breathing machines, dialysis machines or similar equipment to treat you under these circumstances.
Whether you want palliative care
You may also have strong opinions about whether you would want pain relief or other treatments to alleviate unpleasant symptoms you may experience while your condition deteriorates.
Whether you want to donate your organs
Your living will also gives you an opportunity to express your wishes when it comes to organ donation. You may decide to donate your organs to patients in need, medical science or what have you.