Living Will

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A living will is a document that helps you define your end-of-life wishes for medical workers. It can provide peace of mind for yourself and your family by outlining the types of treatment and care you want to receive.

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What is a living will?

A living will by definition is a legal document that defines your life-sustaining and end-of-life treatment preferences for healthcare professionals if you’re unable to communicate.

For example, a living will form would allow you to outline your preferences regarding:

  • Organ donation
  • Resuscitation
  • Tube feeding
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Dialysis
  • Medical and surgical treatments

It’s also important to note that a living will is a type of advance directive, and is therefore often referred to as an:

  • Advance Directive
  • Advance Medical Directive
  • Advance Health Care Directive
  • Health Care Directive

Your living will only becomes effective when you’ve been declared mentally or physically incapable of making your own healthcare decisions by one or more physicians. Your physician(s) are required to certify your incapacity in writing before your living will takes effect.

Living will vs medical power of attorney

Whereas a living will dictates your preferences for life-sustaining treatment, a medical power of attorney allows you to appoint a healthcare agent to make other medical decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated.

Together, a medical power of attorney and living will allow you to define your medical preferences and ensure your healthcare decisions are respected and followed.

Living will vs advance directive

Because both of these documents cover healthcare and medical decisions, advance directives and living wills are often thought to be synonymous.

However, a living will is just one type of advance directive available to American citizens. You may choose to draft other advance directives, such as a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) form, alongside your living will to address additional advance care options.

Do you need a living will form?

You can’t predict when incapacitating illness or injury might occur.

Without a living will, your family members or health care providers may not know your medical preferences regarding life-sustaining and end-of-life care.

All Americans over 18 years old who wish to establish their own preferences towards emergency medical treatment should have a living will. In particular, you should create a living will when:

  • Traveling abroad for an extended period of time
  • Undergoing a planned surgery
  • You’ve been diagnosed with a terminal or chronic condition or illness
  • You’re engaged in a high-risk profession (i.e. firefighter or police)
  • Your religious beliefs prohibit certain life-sustaining procedures

What does a living will cover?

A basic living will form addresses the following elements:

  • Declarant: an adult of sound mind who expresses their end-of-life wishes
  • Artificially Provided Nourishment and Fluids: feeding and hydration tubes
  • Organ Donor Certification: approval of organ and/or tissue donation
  • Witnesses: depending on the state, you may need two non-relatives to act as witnesses
  • Notary Public: an alternative or additional witness to certify the validity of your signature
  • Signatures: the declarant, witnesses, and notary public must all sign the form

How to make a living will form

When making a living will, you’ll need to take the following actions:

Identify your life-sustaining treatment preferences

If you become terminally ill or injured, your living will directs your doctor to either continue or withhold life-sustaining treatment.

Life-sustaining treatments include drugs, machines, or medical procedures that keep you alive but don’t cure you.

Here are some common examples of life-sustaining treatments:

  • Resuscitation: CPR or a defibrillator to restart your heart if it stops
  • Mechanical ventilation: a machine that helps deliver oxygen to your lungs
  • Tube feeding: an IV or tube delivers nutrients and fluids to your body
  • Dialysis: removal of waste from your blood, in the event your kidneys stop
  • Antibiotics: Medicine to fight bacterial infections

Even if you decide against life-sustaining treatment, you can still specify that you want your doctor to provide “palliative care,” which includes medical treatments to ease your pain and keep you comfortable.

Choose an agent (optional)

Some living wills give you the option to designate an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated.

You should select a spouse, friend, relative, or fiduciary who:

  • Is over 18 years old
  • Behaves maturely and responsibly
  • Understands your desires and morals
  • Has the emotional capacity to make difficult decisions

Specify if you want to be an organ donor

A living will allows you to specify whether you want to donate your body, organs, and/or tissues for transplantation or medical research. Before donation, your body will be temporarily kept on life-sustaining treatment until organs are removed for donation.

Obtain Witness Signatures

Witness requirements vary depending on your state. For example, a Florida living will and Texas living will both require two witness signatures, whereas an Arizona living will only requires one witness signature.

In the majority of states, you must have two witnesses present to sign your living will form. Generally, the following people may NOT act as a witness on your living will:

  • A relative by blood or marriage
  • An individual named in your last will and testament
  • An individual who may inherit part of your estate
  • Your attending physician or health facility

Notarize your living will (if necessary)

Notary requirements vary depending on the state where you’re drafting your living will form.

Most states allow you to choose between using either a witness or notary signature to authenticate your living will. For example,  a living will in the state of Ohio can be signed by either two witnesses or a notary public.

Distribute Copies

Now that your living will form is complete, it’s important to circulate copies to the necessary parties.

First, make sure your primary care physician has your living will filed with your medical records. Additionally, consider providing a copy to your lawyer to file with your estate planning documents. Next, make sure to give a copy of your living will to your spouse, family members, and friends who you want to inform of your decisions.

How much does a living will cost?

If you choose to have your living will drafted by a lawyer, the cost will likely vary between $200 – $500, with additional notary fees.

If that cost is out of your price range, it’s easy to create a living will online.

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A living will is a document that helps you define your end-of-life wishes for medical workers. It can provide peace of mind for yourself and your family by outlining the types of treatment and care you want to receive.

Report Abuse
Categories: , Tags: , ,

57,00

What is a living will?

A living will by definition is a legal document that defines your life-sustaining and end-of-life treatment preferences for healthcare professionals if you’re unable to communicate.

For example, a living will form would allow you to outline your preferences regarding:

  • Organ donation
  • Resuscitation
  • Tube feeding
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Dialysis
  • Medical and surgical treatments

It’s also important to note that a living will is a type of advance directive, and is therefore often referred to as an:

  • Advance Directive
  • Advance Medical Directive
  • Advance Health Care Directive
  • Health Care Directive

Your living will only becomes effective when you’ve been declared mentally or physically incapable of making your own healthcare decisions by one or more physicians. Your physician(s) are required to certify your incapacity in writing before your living will takes effect.

Living will vs medical power of attorney

Whereas a living will dictates your preferences for life-sustaining treatment, a medical power of attorney allows you to appoint a healthcare agent to make other medical decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapacitated.

Together, a medical power of attorney and living will allow you to define your medical preferences and ensure your healthcare decisions are respected and followed.

Living will vs advance directive

Because both of these documents cover healthcare and medical decisions, advance directives and living wills are often thought to be synonymous.

However, a living will is just one type of advance directive available to American citizens. You may choose to draft other advance directives, such as a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) form, alongside your living will to address additional advance care options.

Do you need a living will form?

You can’t predict when incapacitating illness or injury might occur.

Without a living will, your family members or health care providers may not know your medical preferences regarding life-sustaining and end-of-life care.

All Americans over 18 years old who wish to establish their own preferences towards emergency medical treatment should have a living will. In particular, you should create a living will when:

  • Traveling abroad for an extended period of time
  • Undergoing a planned surgery
  • You’ve been diagnosed with a terminal or chronic condition or illness
  • You’re engaged in a high-risk profession (i.e. firefighter or police)
  • Your religious beliefs prohibit certain life-sustaining procedures

What does a living will cover?

A basic living will form addresses the following elements:

  • Declarant: an adult of sound mind who expresses their end-of-life wishes
  • Artificially Provided Nourishment and Fluids: feeding and hydration tubes
  • Organ Donor Certification: approval of organ and/or tissue donation
  • Witnesses: depending on the state, you may need two non-relatives to act as witnesses
  • Notary Public: an alternative or additional witness to certify the validity of your signature
  • Signatures: the declarant, witnesses, and notary public must all sign the form

How to make a living will form

When making a living will, you’ll need to take the following actions:

Identify your life-sustaining treatment preferences

If you become terminally ill or injured, your living will directs your doctor to either continue or withhold life-sustaining treatment.

Life-sustaining treatments include drugs, machines, or medical procedures that keep you alive but don’t cure you.

Here are some common examples of life-sustaining treatments:

  • Resuscitation: CPR or a defibrillator to restart your heart if it stops
  • Mechanical ventilation: a machine that helps deliver oxygen to your lungs
  • Tube feeding: an IV or tube delivers nutrients and fluids to your body
  • Dialysis: removal of waste from your blood, in the event your kidneys stop
  • Antibiotics: Medicine to fight bacterial infections

Even if you decide against life-sustaining treatment, you can still specify that you want your doctor to provide “palliative care,” which includes medical treatments to ease your pain and keep you comfortable.

Choose an agent (optional)

Some living wills give you the option to designate an agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you’re incapacitated.

You should select a spouse, friend, relative, or fiduciary who:

  • Is over 18 years old
  • Behaves maturely and responsibly
  • Understands your desires and morals
  • Has the emotional capacity to make difficult decisions

Specify if you want to be an organ donor

A living will allows you to specify whether you want to donate your body, organs, and/or tissues for transplantation or medical research. Before donation, your body will be temporarily kept on life-sustaining treatment until organs are removed for donation.

Obtain Witness Signatures

Witness requirements vary depending on your state. For example, a Florida living will and Texas living will both require two witness signatures, whereas an Arizona living will only requires one witness signature.

In the majority of states, you must have two witnesses present to sign your living will form. Generally, the following people may NOT act as a witness on your living will:

  • A relative by blood or marriage
  • An individual named in your last will and testament
  • An individual who may inherit part of your estate
  • Your attending physician or health facility

Notarize your living will (if necessary)

Notary requirements vary depending on the state where you’re drafting your living will form.

Most states allow you to choose between using either a witness or notary signature to authenticate your living will. For example,  a living will in the state of Ohio can be signed by either two witnesses or a notary public.

Distribute Copies

Now that your living will form is complete, it’s important to circulate copies to the necessary parties.

First, make sure your primary care physician has your living will filed with your medical records. Additionally, consider providing a copy to your lawyer to file with your estate planning documents. Next, make sure to give a copy of your living will to your spouse, family members, and friends who you want to inform of your decisions.

How much does a living will cost?

If you choose to have your living will drafted by a lawyer, the cost will likely vary between $200 – $500, with additional notary fees.

If that cost is out of your price range, it’s easy to create a living will online.

Specification: Living Will

Language

Number of pages

Type of Document

Written in the year

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