Although no one likes to contemplate their own mortality, it is still necessary to do so in order to make sure that you are prepared for any emergency. When it comes to end-of-life care, the best way to ensure that your wishes for yourself are carried out is to make what’s called a living will. This document comes into effect only if you become completely unable to make your wishes known (i.e. if you enter a permanent coma or persistent vegetative state), and provides instructions for your health care team on matters like life support and resuscitation.
Our team at Bennett Guthrie Attorneys at Law PLLC understands that making these decisions is difficult, but we are here to help you through every step of the process. We believe that everyone should have a living will, and in this article, we’ll go over some of the reasons why.
- It Spares Your Family. One of the major reasons you should make a living will is to spare your family the emotional distress of having to make these high-stakes health care and end-of-life decisions on your behalf. Having to decide whether or not to resuscitate a beloved parent, sibling, partner, or child is an excruciating experience that no one ever wants to face, but in the absence of a living will it will likely fall to your loved ones to make that call. Losing a family member is hard enough without having to agonize about whether you could have saved them, so we encourage everyone to make a living will to spare their loved ones from this pain.
- It Protects Your Agency. The other major reason to make a living will is that it is the best way to ensure that your agency is respected in the event that you become incapacitated. If you want to ensure that you receive certain care or that your wishes for your body are respected, you need a living will. These documents allow you to go into as much detail as you like regarding your wishes for your health care, as well as things like religious rites or funeral services. If your opinion on any of these matters differs from those of your family members, we strongly encourage you to make a living will to preserve your agency.