A living will is a document that allows you to make certain decisions regarding emergency and end-of-life medical care. In these kinds of health crises, a person may be unable to communicate their needs and wishes, and the living will makes clear what they want to happen. Here’s more about what this document includes and a few situations in which it’s useful.
What Are the Components of a Living Will?
In a living will, you can state whether you want to be placed on life support if there’s little hope for a meaningful recovery. You can state your preferences for receiving—or not receiving—a feeding tube, artificial hydration, and specific pain control medications, as well as resuscitation and intubation measures. You can also declare your intentions to donate organs, tissues, or other body parts.
This document isn’t the same as a last will and testament. A last will is an estate planning document that outlines how your assets are to be distributed after your death.
A living will focuses solely on end-of-life and life-prolonging medical treatments. It’s also known as an advanced directive or a declaration regarding life-prolonging procedures.
When Is It Useful?
A living will only becomes active when you’re unable to communicate your wishes for care. This is most common in the advanced stages of terminal illnesses and after serious accidents or conditions that result in a vegetative or permanently unconscious state.
Without this document, doctors may take steps to prolong your life, which you may not want to receive. It’s also useful for your loved ones, as it makes clear your intentions and prevents them from having to make difficult and emotional decisions.
If you need help drafting a legally valid living will, We The People of NY can help. Serving New York City since 2006, they offer comprehensive legal document preparation services. They’ll streamline the paperwork and eliminate the red tape that goes into getting your documents ready. Call (212) 633-2200 or visit them online to schedule an appointment.