Living Will

A living will is a legal document that allows individuals to specify their wishes regarding medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event that they become incapacitated and unable to communicate those preferences. A living will is also referred to as an advance directive. In many jurisdictions, living wills have legal authority, which means healthcare providers are required to honor the individual’s documented wishes. 

Typically, a living will includes: 

  • Healthcare preferences: A living will outlines the individual’s preferences for medical care, treatments, and interventions. This might include instructions regarding things like resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, palliative care, etc. 
  • End-of-life decisions: A living will often contains preferences for end-of-life care like comfort measures, pain management, life-sustaining treatments, etc. 

Like with all estate planning documents, living wills should be reviewed periodically and updated as needed to reflect changes in the individual’s health, values, or preferences. It’s important for the individual to discuss their living will with their family, healthcare providers, and designated healthcare proxy to ensure everyone understands their wishes.

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