Creating a Living Will: Everything You Need to Know

Have you ever thought about what might happen if you became seriously ill or injured and could not communicate with your doctors and loved ones to make important decisions about your medical treatment? Nobody wants to find themselves in that situation, but it is something everyone needs to think about and prepare for. 

If the worst should happen, would you want to be kept alive on life support? If you were in a coma, how long would you want to be kept alive with feeding and breathing tubes? Questions like these can be addressed by creating a living will, and it’s one of the most important parts of elder law planning. If you’re wondering what a living will can do for you and how to create one, read on to find out everything you need to know from the team at Slutsky Elder Law.

What is a Living Will?

You can develop a plan for your future healthcare decisions through a document known as an advanced directive. A living will is one type of advanced directive, and it’s also one of the most common. A living will can stand on its own, or it can be used in conjunction with a durable power of attorney for healthcare, which gives another person the power to make medical decisions on your behalf. 

Your living will comes into play in situations where you are unable to communicate your own wishes to healthcare professionals. This could be due to an illness that incapacitates you or severely diminishes your ability to speak and form coherent thoughts. You could also be incapacitated due to an injury. Medical professionals will need to make fast decisions if they hope to save your life, and your living will gives them the information they need to decide which types of life-extending measures you are comfortable with. Some common treatments covered in living wills include:

  • CPR
  • Ventilators
  • Pacemakers
  • Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators
  • Feeding Tubes and Artificial Hydration

Through these treatments, a person could conceivably be kept alive indefinitely, and some people would prefer that doctors do everything they can to keep them alive, no matter the circumstances. Others may not wish for this type of treatment. Your living will expresses your wishes on matters like these, although it differs from a DNR order

How to Create a Living Will

Before you get started on your living will, be sure to speak to your doctor and take some time to reflect on your end-of-life decisions. You may also want to speak with your family members about your wishes and what they mean to you. Once you are certain, it’s time to speak with an elder law attorney. Your lawyer can tell you about the specific documents you will need to file and help you prepare them. They will also be able to recommend some other important estate planning and end-of-life planning documents you may want to file. Once your living will is in place, be sure to revisit it every so often to ensure that it still reflects your wishes. If you change your mind about certain medical treatments, it’s as simple as updating your living will.

Write a Living Will in Pennsylvania

As one of the first attorneys in PA to dedicate his practice to elder law matters, Robert Slutsky has the experience necessary to ensure you have all your end-of-life planning in order. Call (610) 940-0650 or visit our website to request a consultation with an elder law attorney serving Bucks County, PA and surrounding counties.

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