The Importance of Living Wills



The one thing we can all agree on about life is how unpredictable it is.  And one day, it will all end.  As we move towards our undeniable fate, there may be plenty of ways you’ve begun to prepare, such as drawing up your last will and testament, having enough life insurance to cover any last expenses, and making sure all your debts are paid.   

Thinking about our passing is always a difficult subject, but it’s something we must all do as we come to grips about our mortality.  There’s still one major area of concern we often gloss over when it comes to our health during the final days, weeks, and even months of our life.  While we all know the importance of our last will and testament, have you taken the time to consider a living will?

There might come a time in your life where you find yourself in an incapacitated state.  It doesn’t necessarily have to happen towards the end of your life either, as a living will deals with your care while you’re still alive.  For example, if you’ve been in a severe car accident and find yourself in a coma.  How would you like your family to proceed?


A Difficult Choice

This can be a truly heart-wrenching decision for any family member to have to make, especially if they’re unsure of your wishes and how you desire the situation to be handled.  Should they take you off life support?  Keep you going a while longer?  And not to forget the whole Terri Schiavo case where family members had very different opinions on what should happen next.

Everyone from lawyers and estate planners to the majority medical professionals have advocated for the need for a living will.  But it’s important not to confuse a living will with your typical will, which deals with how you’re going to divide your property amongst family and friends.  A living will is strictly about making an advance directive while you’re still alive.

Despite the insistence by top professionals to obtain a living will, only a small number of people have made sure they have one.  Hiring a lawyer (if you haven’t already) can be useful if you want to get advice on how to plan your living will.  While it’s recommended to hire one, you can set it up on your own without one by obtaining the forms online.  Many hospitals also have the correct forms to fill out.   

It’s also important to discuss with your loved ones your plan in the event of an emergency.  It can go a long way to helping them know how to handle a potential tragedy.  You can also assign someone as your power of attorney and let everyone know who you chose to make decisions on your behalf.   

And finally, file your living will with your doctor’s office, as well as with your attorney, and your power of attorney.  The whole process only requires a few steps, including getting your living will notarized.  Once you have it taken care of, you will be prepared.  Whatever happens, you and your family will be taken care of.


Last modified: January 19, 2018