It’s an extremely personal question and one that requires a lot of thought. Religion, family, age and circumstances all play into a complex web of decisions. We all hope it never happens to us, but to protect our families and our values, you need to be prepared, and that means creating a living will.
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.
In the past 5 years, 42 percent of Americans have experienced the need for a living will with a loved one who was experiencing a terminal illness or in a coma. But less than a third of us have this essential document in place.
April 16th is National Health Care Decisions Day, and it’s a great time to reflect on the importance of a living will. Take a look at this great video on why you need a living will:
If you understand the need for a living will, but wonder about the cost or the stress of creating one, think about a legal plan. If you’re already a member of Texas Legal, your living will is included in your estate planning coverage, meaning that you won’t pay a dime to put one in place. If you aren’t a member of a legal plan, consider joining one as a cost-effective way to address your health care planning needs. While a typical estate planning package through a lawyer costs anywhere from $1000 to $2500, a legal plan will cover those costs in full with only a $10 to $30 a month premium.
Already have a living will? Make sure it stays updated. 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.
Need to talk to a loved one about their living will? We’ll be talking about how to start the conversation about advanced directives with your family and friends later this week. For more on what a living will is and what kind of situations it plans for, check out Why You Need a Living Will, as well as these great resources from National Health Care Decisions Day.