What to include in a living will

by | Jun 17, 2018 | Firm News |

Elder care planning entails more than just securing Medicaid. It also involves creating or updating routine estate documents, such as guardianships and powers of attorney. Another one that you should include is a health care directive, also known as a living will. This addresses the kind of care you want if you are on life support and therefore unable to express your wishes. It differs from durable medical power of attorney in that it only covers end-of-life decisions and not all medical treatment.

The most common association with living wills is tube feeding, thanks to the Terri Schiavo case. However, your opinion on tube feeding is not the only thing to discuss in your health care directive. You should also include the following important information.

Other forms of life support

Tube feeding is common but not the only form of support. You can also opt for or out of assisted breathing, as well as resuscitation if your heart stops. Other types are blood transfusions, antibiotic medications and dialysis. Make sure to cover all your bases to avoid family disputes, lengthy legal battles and unwanted extension or termination of your life.

Terms of life support

Life support comes with more than just two options: yes or no. You can also choose under what circumstances you would want it and in what instances you would not. For example, you may have different wishes for if you have a terminal illness versus if you get in a tragic accident that leaves you brain dead.

You can also say yes but with a time limit, such as for only a week. You may want to outline the religious or philosophical reasons for your choices, which may be useful if an unanticipated situation occurs. The document should be as personal and detailed as possible to ensure the best compliance. For this reason, do-it-yourself forms may be insufficient.