Clients have increasingly been asking us about living wills and medical decision powers of attorney. More clients are familiar with living wills than with medical decision powers of attorney. However, both have become extremely important in our society.
A living will serves many purposes. Because you can make your intentions known, it could save your family costly litigation. It could also save your family the grief caused by immediate relatives fighting to interpret what they think you want.
Perhaps the most important reason for you to want a living will is to make your particular wishes known to your family and to your doctor.
The awful burden that is placed upon a family to make life or death decisions is taken away from that family with your wishes expressed in a living will document.
With a living will, your family and doctors will know what you want in the event you suffer an incurable injury, disease or illness, and, as a result, you become permanently unconscious. Do you want life sustaining procedures applied simply to postpone your death where such postponement will be for a predictably short period of time and you remain unconscious? Do you want your family to authorize cardiac resuscitation and mechanical respiration? Do you want pain relieving drugs which may cause you to die sooner? Do you want water or intravenous feeding to be administered to you under these conditions?
The use of a living will lets your family know whether you want life temporarily sustained by feeding or naso-gastric tubes where death is inevitable.
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