Creating a living will is one of the most important things you could do to ensure your medical wishes are respected. If you want to document what you would like to happen in the case of a medical emergency where you are unable to communicate, a living will is important for peace of mind. Unfortunately, living wills can be incredibly complex and may require some legal advice from a trusted attorney. Here are some fast facts you should know about living wills to help you brush up on the process.
What is a living will?
A living will, also called an advanced healthcare directive, allows you to specify what kind of medical treatment you would and would not want in case you were unable to communicate your wishes. It directs doctors to administer, withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatments in the event of a terminal or irreversible condition.
What happens if you pass without having a will?
Without a signed directive, that responsibility falls to your family or court-appointed guardian.
What does a living will cover?
- Resuscitation, like CPR or electric shock to the heart.
- Mechanical ventilation, like a machine that breathes for you if you are unable to on your own
- Tube feeding, if you were unable to eat
- Dialysis, for if your kidneys are not functioning
- Using medicines like antibiotics or antivirals
- Comfort care, like pain medication or hospice
- Organ and tissue donations
- Donating your body to science.
Do my spouse and I both need a living will?
Yes. It’s important that each of you document what your medical wishes. This saves your spouse from having to make life-and-death decisions on your behalf. Instead, they can honor your wishes as stated in your living will.
How often must I update my living will?
It’s important to take a look at your living will every 2 to 3 years, or sooner if you have a significant life change, like a change in your health, moving, a financial change, a relationship change or even a change of heart about your medical care. Laws about health care decisions and medical technology are always changing, so it’s important to check in to make sure your living will reflects those changes. Proper legal advice will help you determine what is best for your situation.
The best way to find legal advice is through the website of a trusted lawyer, and considering 49 percent of people were willing to consult lawyer websites, it has proven to be a successful method. It’s easier to find a quality lawyer website than you might think, as 52 percent of lawyers in solo practices and 81 percent of lawyers in partnerships have websites.
Looking for legal advice? Talk to the professionals at Texas Legal today!