A living will, known also as a health care directive or advance directive, is an important consideration for seniors and their families. A study published in 2014 by the Journal of American Geriatrics Society shows that in 2010, 72% of seniors had a living will. That’s a record number that indicates elders are no longer leaving their end-of-life care in the hands of others. So, what is a living will and what does it do?
Serves as an Instruction for Care
As its names indicate, a living will or directive legally lays out the details of one’s wishes when they are no longer able to express them. In the case of terminal illness or a permanent state of vegetation, medical professionals and family members consult the living will to determine what treatments and procedures they will go ahead with.
Puts People in Charge of Their Own Care
In the past, as their health and lives waned, seniors often left decision making to the younger generations. Those days are fading. As people age, they are taking the reins, making their wishes known, and taking steps to ensure their wishes are carried out. With a living will, elders have the ability to dictate their own care and treatment, even when their voice is muted by illness.
Takes pressure off of Family and Doctors
Without a living will, family and doctors are left guessing, debating, and assuming what sort of treatment a person may want. This is stressful and can often be incorrect. A living will takes all of the guesswork out of the situation and removes the burden from family and medical staff.
A living will is a smart and responsible thing to consider. It legally solidifies one’s end-of-life treatment wishes and lifts weight off loved ones and medical professionals. Lawyers who know how to navigate specific local laws often make living wills a part of estate planning. For more information about living wills, please contact us.
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