Why You Need a Living Will

Why You Need a Living Will

A living will, which also may be called a “healthcare declaration”  refers to a legal document that allows you to state what life-sustaining measures you wish to allow and wish to refuse, should your illness become prolonged or untreatable. In California, Advanced Healthcare Directives includes a section detailing an individual’s Living Will wishes. 

For example, if you suffered an accident that put in you a coma, a living will communicate to doctors and lawyers exactly the kinds of life-saving measures that should be taken. If it was determined that your injury was so severe that unless you were to be on a feeding tube for the rest of your life and never regain consciousness, you may choose to not have that life-sustaining measure. 

A living will is not to be confused with a Last Will and Testament. If you’re looking to provide legal instructions about how your belongings and assets will be distributed upon your death, you would maybe want a will or more popularly a Trust. 

A Living Will addresses life-saving treatment if you are incapacitated meaning unable to speak or communicate your wishes.

Things to Include

Specific Medical Treatments and/or Devices

Though you can specify you want all possible treatments to sustain your life, commonly a living will requests that certain treatments, devices, and drugs not be used.

A living will explicitly forbid certain treatments and devices from being used on you. You can specify no feeding tubes or breathing machines.

A living will allows you to state that legally you are withdrawing your consent to artificial nutrition and hydration as a form of medical treatment. 

If there are certain treatments you wish to exclude for religious reasons, such as blood transfusions, that can be specified.

You could also include directions regarding Do Not Resuscitate orders, surgery, and any other areas of concern.

We will help you decide what to include based on our experience and expertise.

Other Things to Think About

  • Naming your Personal Physician – Your personal doctor will know your medical history and can help advise emergency or hospital personnel about your care 
  • Medical Power of Attorney – a legal document that names your representative to communicate your wishes as to your medical care when you are unable to do so due to injury or illness.
  • Organ Donation -You can specify what organs you wish to donate or decide that all parts may be donated.  You can name a specific individual as a beneficiary of the organ called a directed or designated donation.

We can guide you and create your legal documents to convey your wishes if you are incapacitated and perhaps terminal.

Communicate and Share

It is recommended that you communicate your thoughts about what you believe in terms of life-saving measures and how you may or may not want to be kept alive. These are difficult thoughts but important to think about and share with your doctors, your lawyer, your spouse, your family, and anyone else that needs to be made aware of your philosophy.

Most importantly these types of legal documents spell out what you want at a terrible and difficult time, despite the emotional desires of your loved ones. It will also give your loved ones peace of mind that good decisions are being made.

Contact Us Today

To find out more about setting up your living will as well as other Advanced Healthcare Directive documents, contact the Law Office of Andrew Fesler today.