Mint Money Knowledge Center: What is a living will?

What is a living willA living will is a legal document that describes the subject's wishes in terms of end-of-life treatment and life-saving measures undertaken by medical personnel. It can also address issues like organ donation and palliative care.

What Directives are Included in a Living Will?

Several directives are included in a standard living will, including whether or not you wish medical personnel to attempt to resuscitate you through CPR and other measures. If you are injured or ill to the point where you cannot breathe on your own, the living will tells doctors whether or not you want to remain on life support or an apparatus that breathes for you.

People who slip into comas must be fed intravenously. A living well indicates whether or not you would prefer tubal feeding. Additionally, it might specify whether you want to be placed on dialysis to filter the toxins from your blood.

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How are Palliative Care Issues Handled?

In a living will, you can communicate whether you want to receive medications and other palliative care to keep you comfortable while you suffer from a terminal illness or injury.

Some patients prefer to refuse invasive tests because they do not want to be subjected to the discomfort. You might also want to refuse or allow intravenous narcotics. In some cases, living wills specify the subject's desire to return home rather than remain in the hospital.

A living will should be prepared by an attorney and signed by witnesses. If you have not yet created a living will, doing so immediately protects you for the future. According to Medical Daily, 72 percent of elderly Americans now create living wills, which is a much higher margin than at any previous point in history.

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