More than a few parlor room conversations revolve around how much medical treatment is acceptable in prolonging life. When it comes to end-of-life medical treatment, no one wants to feel trapped into accepting extraordinary life-prolonging measures because they failed to file a Living Will when everyone said they should.
Living Wills and other advance directives are written legal instructions regarding your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. While the topic of living wills gets discussed chiefly within the context of end-of-life decisions, they also cover any extraordinary interventions at any stage of life. Advance directives guide choices for doctors and caregivers if you’re terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, in the late stages of dementia, or near the end of life. It also states your preferences regarding other medical decisions, such as pain management or organ donation.
Why Living Wills Matter
Aside from your wishes, Living Wills relieve the burden of decision-making.
- Gives guidance to your doctors and healthcare surrogates
- Provides clarity and closure to loved ones
- Prevents conflict and disagreement among family members
- Limits the emotional burden people close to you at the time of death
What to include in your living will:
- A standard direction that you do not want life-prolonging procedures administered or continued if there is no probability of your survival
- More specific directions about what care you do or do not want – dialysis, mechanical ventilation to assist with breathing, artificial hydration, and nutrition, or CPR
- Anatomical gift decisions—whether you wish to be an organ or tissue donor and your wishes about donating your body to science
- Palliative care wishes—whether you wish to die at home or avoid invasive tests or procedures, pain relief medications
- Spiritual and religious considerations—your faith may have directions for how to create a living will.
Cautions to Take
When considering a Living Will, remember the following:
- It is not intended only to be an end-of-life document. It does not prevent routine medical treatment or care for conditions that are not life-threatening.
- Doctors will not withhold medical treatment in other situations.
- One document can’t anticipate every possible scenario.
- Keep the living will up to date; your wishes may change over time.
- Do not wait until confronted with an illness to create a living will. Consider that an unexpected illness or event can happen at any time.
Make It Personal
As you make the living will talk to your doctors about your wishes. Have them put your living will on file or consider placing it in an online registry. Speak with your closest family and friends, particularly the ones who may be your caregivers one day, so they know what your wishes are. Having these talks and writing your living will ensure that you live on your terms until your last breath while giving your loved ones a sense of peace when it matters most.
The Help You Need with Your Living Will
The Voeller Law Firm specializes in all aspects of estate planning. Are you thinking about creating a Living Will? Call us now and get started protecting your end-of-life rights and wishes. Contact the firm by calling (210) 651-3851 or using our online contact form to send a message and set up a consultation.
We serve San Antonio, Schertz, and the surrounding communities of Bexar County.
19311 FM 2252
San Antonio, Texas 78266