A living will , also be known as an advance health care directive, have become popular as more and more people realize the importance of making critical decisions about their medical and end of life care ahead of time. Many protracted legal battles have been played out in the media about how long (and at what expense) to keep family members alive using medical treatments – and a living will helps prevent much of this by allowing each person to document their own wishes and preferences.
Seven Benefits of a Living Will
There are several benefits in creating and implementing a living will. Those include:
- You can refuse treatment that you do not want
- You will know the outcomes of your medical treatment
- You can prevent arguments among family members
- Make decisions easy for your family
- Ensure doctors follow your wishes
- Authorize treatments you may want
- Eliminate financial problems for your family
Benefit #1 – Refuse treatments that you do not want: There are a number of reasons why people may not want certain medical treatments. It could be a “do not resuscitate” order, or you may not want a feeding tube. Some treatments may be against your moral or religious beliefs. A living will gives you control over the treatments that you will accept and those you will not.
Benefit #2 – Know your outcomes. You never know when an illness or disease might strike or you may be in an accident that puts you into a situation where you cannot make your health care decisions. Having a living will in place assures you that incapacitation will not make outcomes a guessing game. You know what to expect because you have specified it.
Benefit #3 – Prevent arguments among family members. Your family cares about you, but different family members may have different opinions about the best treatment for you. By creating a living will, you can eliminate any disagreements.
Benefit #4 – Make the decisions easy for your family. Since you have specified what you want, it will be easier for your family to accede to your wishes. You have limited their options so decisions won’t be as difficult as they might have been.
Benefit #5 – Ensure doctors follow your wishes. With an advance directive, your doctors will do what you wanted them to do. They won’t do what they simply feel is best for you. You are in control and not your doctor.
Benefit #6 – Authorize treatments. There are many procedures that require authorization from the patient. You can make these authorizations in advance in case you are incapacitated. You can insure that you will get the treatment you need and want.
Benefit #7 – Eliminate financial problems for your family. Medical treatments, especially long term care, can become very expensive. You can make decisions in advance that will eliminate or minimize the cost of care for you.
If you need help deciding on just the right solution for your long term medical concerns, consult Virginia Estate Planning Attorneys Northern Virginia Trusts and Estates –Attorneys at Law