An unforeseen medical crisis or serious injury can leave you incapacitated and unable to communicate your medical preferences. In such a situation, your family will have to make difficult decisions about your health care.
Should you remain on life support if there’s no hope for recovery? Can doctors attempt aggressive treatment or surgeries? These are some of the choices your loved ones may have to make on your behalf, and the emotional toll and potential conflicts can be overwhelming.
What is a living will?
A living will is a legal document that allows you to specify what medical actions should be taken for your health if you cannot communicate or make these decisions for yourself due to incapacitation. You can outline the types of medical interventions you desire or wish to avoid, such as life-sustaining treatments, resuscitation measures or the use of artificial nutrition and hydration.
By clearly expressing your choices in advance, you relieve your family members of the difficult burden of making such difficult decisions. It spares them the anguish and potential conflicts that can arise when family members disagree on the way forward.
Lessening financial as well as emotional hardship for your family
In circumstances where treatments can only prolong life without the possibility of recovery, medical expenses can quickly accumulate. You can prevent unnecessary and costly medical interventions that may not align with your values or desires with a living will.
This can alleviate the financial strain on your family, help ensure you’re your resources are handed down according to your wishes through other documents in your estate plan rather than being spent on your long-term care if there’s no quality of life to be enjoyed.
A living will is more than a legal document. It is a profound act of love and consideration for your loved ones in times of uncertainty and need. Therefore, it is worthwhile to learn more about how living trusts work and seek guidance on what you need to start planning for the uncertainties of life.