What should you put in a living will?

| Jan 8, 2021 | Wills |

As part of your estate planning, you might want to consider creating a living will. This outlines your wishes for health care at the end of your life. Whether or not you have a living will, you should discuss these wishes with both your Pennsylvania physician and your loved ones. Reinforcing this with a written document can help ensure that those wishes are carried out. You may want to avoid a situation where you did not want to be kept alive but the doctors and hospital leave you and your family no choice.

Resuscitation and intubation

Orders that you do not wish to be resuscitated or intubated can be placed on your medical records. However, in addition to discussing this with your doctor, you should include this information in your living will. One thing to keep in mind is that both medical personnel and family members may be in a situation in which they need to make decisions quickly under stressful conditions, and they should have as much information as possible about your wishes to guide them, especially in a situation where you cannot speak for yourself. Doctors will err on the side of keeping people alive under almost all circumstances unless they have proof that their patients did not want to be kept alive in a terminal condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness.

Considerations in a living will

There are a number of things to think about when it comes to estate planning and expressing your preferences in a living will, including how important independent living is for you and whether you would want life-saving measures to be used in absolutely any circumstances. Among the treatments you should address in the living will are whether you want to be put on a ventilator, whether you want CPR and what kind of palliative care you want. You may want to discuss these issues with your doctor to be sure you are thorough and that you understand the ramifications of your decisions.

People often procrastinate preparing living wills and other estate planning documents. They feel they are too young or that the topic is unpleasant. However, having them in place helps ensure that your loved ones know your wishes and are able to carry them out.

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