Accidents, serious illnesses and other issues may strike unexpectedly, and they can affect people of all ages and health conditions. Due to serious injury or illness, you may lack the ability to make decisions regarding your care. Thus, important choices may fall into the hands of your family members and health care professionals.
Having the necessary estate planning tools, such as a living will, in place may help you express your wishes, even if you cannot speak for yourself.
Specifying your medical preferences
According to the Mayo Clinic, living wills allow you to detail your preferences regarding various medical treatments and decisions in writing. Through your living will, you may indicate whether you would want medical treatments including cardiopulmonary resuscitation, tube feeding, mechanical ventilation and dialysis. You may also specify the type of palliative care you would want in end-of-life situations, as well as if you prefer to donate tissue, organs or your body after your death.
Considering your values
In creating a living will, you will consider various decisions medical professionals and your family may have to make should you suffer catastrophic or otherwise incapacitating injury or illness. Thus, you may account for factors you might think about if making the decisions for yourself at the time. For example, you may want life-extending treatments in certain situations but prefer they do not employ these options if you have no chance for recovery.
Once you create a living will, you may find it beneficial to discuss your wishes with family members. Doing so may help make your intentions and preferences clear, which may help avoid conflict, difficult decisions or feelings of guilt should the need to enact your living will ever arise.