A Living Will is a legal document that allows you to instruct healthcare providers regarding the use or non-use of certain life-prolonging medical procedures in the event that you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious and unable to communicate your own wishes.
The life-prolonging medical procedures in question are sometimes referred to as ‘heroic measures’ and are generally aimed at keeping the patient alive rather than fixing the underlying problem (which is often virtually un-treatable, like multiple organ failures or severe brain damage).
As a general rule, living wills only come into effect if you’re no longer able to make your own healthcare decisions. For example, if you suffer serious brain damage in an accident or suffer an incapacitating stroke, you may be permanently unconscious and unable to communicate your wishes to your doctor. In this case, a living will lets your doctor know your wishes concerning the receipt or non-receipt of certain medical procedures. It also allows you to designate a person who can either enforce or revoke the decisions made in your living will.
Living wills are a fundamental part of estate planning and every good estate plan should include one. They give you a degree of control over your own medical care which is vital part of planning for the future.
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For more information, read some of the other articles on our website.
Alternatively, if you would like to learn more about living wills, and healthcare powers of attorney, or even make your own, check out our Healthcare Power of Attorney & Living Will Kit. This legal kit contains all the information and ready-to-use lawyer prepared legal forms and documents necessary to create a combined Healthcare Power of Attorney and Living Will. It also contains all the forms necessary to revoke that document.
If you would like to make a living will online, then check out our Online Living Will Software. It allows you to make a your document without the cost or need to engage a lawyer.
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