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What is the Purpose of a Living Will?

 Posted on May 25, 2023 in Estate Planning

Geneva Estate Planning LawyerThe news is full of stories of terrible car accidents and other tragedies. These stories serve as a reminder that tomorrow is never guaranteed, and a severe injury or illness can occur to anybody at any time.

A living will is an estate planning document that allows a person to make decisions about their medical care in the event that they are incapacitated. For example, a living will can be used to direct doctors on the medical interventions they should take if you are in a coma or vegetative state.

Incapacitation planning can be an emotional process because it requires us to consider the possibility that we could be unable to communicate our medical preferences. However, living wills are an essential estate planning tool that puts the decision-making power in your hands – regardless of what the future holds.

Plan For Your Medical Care in the Event That You Are Incapacitated

If you were extremely ill and doctors did not believe there was a chance of recovery, would you want doctors to use every medical tool possible to keep you alive? Or, would you rather know that you will not be kept alive through mechanical ventilation, feeding tubes, or other means if there is no chance that you will wake up?

These types of questions are deeply personal. Your answers will be influenced by your religious beliefs, personal views, family relationships, and feelings about death.

A living will is an estate planning instrument that specifies the medical treatment an individual consents to in the event he or she is incapacitated. A living will can address your wishes regarding:

  •  Palliative care

  • CPR

  • Mechanical ventilation

  • Organ donation

  • Dialysis

  • Enteral nutrition

  • End-of-life care

Save Your Loved Ones the Burden of Making the Decision

It can be extremely difficult to know what to do when a loved one is severely or fatally ill. Should this person be kept alive through life support even if he or she will never regain consciousness? What if there is a slim possibility that the person could recover? Is it better to let nature take its course or to do everything possible to keep the person alive even if they are declared medically brain dead?

Deciding whether to continue life support or other medical treatments when there is little hope of recovery is one of the hardest decisions a person could possibly make. Family members and loved ones put in this position are often torn between wanting their loved one to be at peace and wanting to hold on to hope.

When you set up a living will, you provide instructions for how to handle this situation. Your loved ones will not be burdened with making the decision for you.

Contact our Geneva Estate Planning Lawyer

A living will is just one of many estate planning tools you can use to ensure your wishes are honored upon your incapacitation or death. For help setting up a living will that meets your particular needs and estate planning goals, contact our skilled Geneva estate planning attorney Cherissa "Reese" Loire Krajniak.

Call 630-448-2406 for a free initial consultation to learn more.



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