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Your Living Will and Your Quality of Life

Posted on in Estate Planning

DuPage County estate planning lawyerThe likelihood of serious health issues increases dramatically as we age. To offer a quantitative example, Medicare reports that 30 percent of its expenditures each year are used on the 5 percent of its beneficiaries that die in that same year, with nearly a third of the costs accumulating during the beneficiaries’ last month of life. There are, of course, many considerations that are much more important than money, but the reality is that the best health care in the world does not allow us to live forever. This makes end-of-life planning decisions all the more important, especially as they pertain to your living will and death-delaying procedures.

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is a legal document that contains your wishes regarding the application and implementation of medical procedures that will delay your death but not necessarily heal you. Your living will is also known as an advance medical directive and is only intended to be used if or when you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or injury. A terminal illness or injury is one that will cause death regardless of the medical care provided.

When you draft your living will, you have the right to choose which, if any, death delaying procedures should be used in the event that you are diagnosed with a terminal condition and are unable to consent to such care at the time. For example, you may refuse the use of a respirator, a blood transfusion, dialysis, amputations, or chemotherapy if such procedures are only being used to extend your life. You may even include a do-not-resuscitate order in your living will. Regardless of your condition, however, your living will cannot direct medical professionals to withhold food or water or to take action that will directly cause your death.

Balancing Quality of Life Concerns

As you think about the terms you wish to include in your living will, it is important to discuss your plans with your family and loved ones. For some people, staying alive is the most important consideration, even if their quality of life is substantially decreased. For others, the thought of merely being “kept alive” is undesirable and not worth sacrificing their quality of life. By making these plans in advance and discussing them with loved ones, your family will have a better idea of what to expect should your living will ever need to be utilized.

For more information about living wills and how they can offer security and peace of mind, contact an experienced estate planning attorney in Lombard. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at any of the three locations of A. Traub & Associates today.

 

Sources:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelbell/2013/01/10/why-5-of-patients-create-50-of-health-care-costs/

https://www.illinois.gov/aging/AboutUs/Documents/poa_will.pdf

https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/legal-information/creating-living-will


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