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What Is a Living Will and Why Are They Important? 

 Posted on October 19, 2022 in Estate Planning

DuPage County estate planning lawyerMore likely than not that you have heard of a will. In case you need a refresher, a will is a legal document that serves as the foundation of an estate plan. In addition, the document acts as a road map and guide for allocating someone's assets and property after they pass away. Finally, creating a will is an important step that grants someone’s  family security and peace of mind.

So, you may be wondering, what is a living will? Essentially, a living will is a written document that functions as an advanced medical directive, which allows you, while you are still alive, to make specific decisions regarding what medical treatment you would like to receive if you become incapable of making such choices for yourself in the future. You may know other medical directives, like do-not-resuscitate orders and mental health treatment declarations. If you are interested in creating a living will, consider contacting an experienced living will attorney who can help you or a loved one navigate this sensitive time with the utmost compassion and knowledge of the best procedures moving forward. 

Determining Your Wishes for the Living Will

When drafting a living will, a critical issue is your values and what you consider an acceptable quality of life. Is there any circumstance where you would feel life is not worth living? Are you someone who would like their life extended in any situation? Or would you only want treatment in case a cure is possible? These are questions to ask yourself as you address possible end-of-life choices in your living will. 

Furthermore, it is essential to discuss with your doctor if you have any questions regarding certain medical decisions, such as:

• Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) – This lifesaving procedure restarts the heart when it stops beating. Would you want CPR to be administered if your heart stopped beating? These are questions you can address in your living will.

• Mechanical ventilation – This apparatus essentially breathes for you when you can no longer breathe on your own. Would you want to be on a ventilator if you could no longer breathe? And, if so, consider how long you would like to be attached to a ventilator. 

• Tube feeding – This supplies the body with necessary nutrients intravenously via a tube in the stomach or fluids. You can decide if you would like to be fed in a manner such as this and for how long.

• Palliative care – This can involve various types of intervention that can be used to keep you comfortable if you are nearing the end of life, including dying at home, receiving certain pain medications, avoiding invasive tests or treatments, and more. 

In addition to your living will, you may want to assign a power of attorney for your healthcare needs. This person would then become responsible for making healthcare decisions for you once you are no longer able. It is important to note that this person should know all your wishes in your living will. By assigning a power of attorney and adding layers of precautions, you can further ensure your wishes will be effectively carried out if you becoe incapacitated.   

Contact a DuPage County Estate Planning Attorney

Creating a living will is an invaluable tool to ensure your family is aware of your wishes if you cannot express your wishes due to an illness or condition. If you are interested in creating a living, contact the compassionate Lombard, IL estate planning lawyers with A. Traub & Associates. We understand how sensitive a time this can be in someone's life. Call us at 630-426-0196 today to schedule a private consultation.


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