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Understanding Living Wills and Medical Directives

Create a Living Will

Your End of Life Care Decisions Should Not be a Guessing Game

A Living Will is an essential piece of your estate plan because it spells out your end-of-life medical decisions. A Living Will allows your family and physicians to rest assured that your own personal beliefs and choices are being respected in case at any point you are unable to communicate your wishes. A Living Will frees your loved ones from the unbearable burden of wondering if they are doing “the right thing” regarding your care during a time of grieving.

We understand that a Living Will is your statement of what “quality of life” really means to you and is not a “one size fits all” legal document. It should address:

  • What is a meaningful quality of life for you?
  • Do you want to be artificially kept alive if you are in a vegetative state?
  • Does artificial ventilation (a machine breathing for you) count as “living” in your book?
  • Do you want to be fed or hydrated through invasive procedures?

Decide Who Will Make Medical Decisions for You through a Medical Power of Attorney

Having a Living Will without a Medical Power of Attorney (sometimes called a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care) is kind of like giving away your car but hanging onto the keys. You need to empower someone that you trust to enforce your wishes and communicate with your doctors if you are not able to communicate on your own even if you have a Living Will. That is the purpose of a Medical Power of Attorney.

Creating a Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney may be one of the most simple, yet important, things that you can do for yourself and your loved ones. At Phelps LaClair, this essential component is included in every estate plan that we prepare for a client.

Everyone needs a Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney … do it now!

LEARN MORE: Medical Powers of Attorney and Living Wills

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