Most of us know that a Will is a legal document that may be used to express our end-of-life intentions and to specify how we want our property split and donated to individuals we care about. Everyone should have a will as a core estate planning document.
Few people are aware that the Will has a relative in estate planning: the Living Will. A Living Will, you may think, serves the same purpose as a standard Will. While this may be accurate in some minor ways, the reality is much different. A Living Will has no effect on our deaths or what occurs after we die. Continue reading to learn more about the purpose of a Living Will and why everyone should have one.
What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is a form of an estate planning document that you would use to communicate your medical care preferences in the future. “Why would I need to jot down my desires at a period when I am still alive?” you may think. “Is it not possible for me to just tell my medical staff what I want?” In the event that this is not practicable, a Living Will takes effect.
This is sometimes referred to as ‘incapacitation,’ or when a person is unable to make medical choices or convey their medical intentions. Incapacitation may result from a variety of diseases, accidents, and circumstances. Comas, strokes, and dementia are just a few of the illnesses that may leave a person mentally or physically incapacitated. Incapacitation may sometimes be transient, as in the case of a serious sickness that is followed by a complete recovery.
Let us return to the living will definition now that you have a clearer understanding of what it means to be disabled. You would address any number of medical choices to be made on your behalf in your living will, including circumstances that are both plausible and unlikely. In a moment, we will provide some samples of what may be included in a Living Will. Living Wills are legal papers, so you may rest easy knowing that your healthcare professionals are legally obligated to carry out your requests.
A Living Will is a sub-set of a larger category of legal agreements known as ‘advance directives,’ which may all be used to address your future medical treatment. Some people confuse the two concepts, but when you look at the definition of a living will, you will see that they are not the same thing. Here, we look at the fundamental distinctions between these two terminologies.
What is a Living Will and What Does It Do?
A Living Will is used to tell people about your medical wishes. Whether you are unconscious, your physicians and loved ones will not be able to ask you if you want to take this new drug or get this medical treatment. They are obliged to make educated estimates in the absence of a Living Will.
A Living Will provides a framework for carers to make treatment choices. A Living Will ensures that your desires are carried out, and it may also provide clarity to your loved ones and caretakers. They will feel at ease knowing that they are making medical choices that are in line with their wishes. As you can expect, making these choices when they may mean the difference between life and death can be very stressful for anybody.
What Makes a Living Will Distinct?
Wills and Living Wills are diametrically opposed. A Will is a legally binding estate planning tool that specifies what should happen when you die. It gives detailed instructions on how your assets should be allocated. A Living Will concerns itself with what should happen to you while you are still alive. It covers your medical choices in the event that you become disabled, either temporarily or permanently.
They do, however, have certain commonalities. First and foremost, they are both vital legal papers that should be included in your estate planning. Second, they are both ways of expressing your desires when you are unable to do it yourself.
What Does a Living Will Contain?
A Living Will lays down your wishes for medical treatment and procedures if you become disabled. You may, for example, construct a list of operations that you allow or, if it is simpler, a list of procedures that you do not allow. Medications are no exception. Living Wills also provide you the opportunity to express any religious or philosophical ideas you may have. This kind of information may help you make more informed decisions about your end-of-life care and what must happen to your body and organs if you die.
Here are some examples of what a Living Will may include:
- Preferences for life-prolonging therapies
- Preferences when it comes to life support
- A list of medication you take or do not take
- You will be given a list of processes to approve or reject.
- Providers should be aware of any sensitivities or disorders.
- Scenarios in which you would want to die naturally
- Choosing whether or not to donate organs
- Wishes for the end of life
- Medical and end-of-life expenditures are covered by available resources.
- Any moral, religious, or philosophical convictions that could influence medical choices