I’ll do it tomorrow. We’ve all said it, and most of the time, we have a tomorrow. Sometimes we don’t, and sometimes that thing we wanted to do tomorrow needed to be done yesterday. When talking about planning for your end-of-life care, this should have been done yesterday.
A living will is a legal document that lets you share your healthcare preferences with friends, family, and doctors in the event that you are unable to communicate them. A living will outlines your choices regarding medical treatments, procedures, medications, and more.
By the time you need a Living Will or an advanced directive, it’s too late to create one. You are already in a condition where you can no longer advocate for your own wishes. Your care is in the hands of your loved ones. If you were thinking ahead, then you’ve had some conversations about how you want them to manage your care. Do you want a feeding tube? Do you want to be kept comfortable? Do you want to live as long as you can, even if it means being attached to machines 24/7?
If you haven’t had the hard conversations, then you may be incapacitated, and all you can do is hope that your family can make the decisions you want. By creating a living will, you can be assured that your wishes are known even when you are not able to express them yourself.
There are a few considerations that need to be addressed when creating a living will, and they are more involved than just writing a letter. You will need to determine what you want, and who needs to be part of this process, and how to make sure people know about the document.
Before you create an advanced directive, you need to decide how detailed you want to be. What medical decisions do you want to include, and how should the doctors address each of them. Your living will can address your preferences about:
There are a number of different ways to create a living will. The following is a brief overview of the different approaches.
Traditionally someone would contact a lawyer and ask them to draft the document. While using a lawyer can help create a more comprehensive formal document, it is not absolutely necessary. More often than not, using an alternative method is sufficient to express your wishes.
There are a number of downloadable forms that can help you create a living will. If you want to do everything on your own, this is a good place to start. You will need to make sure that you download a form appropriate to the state you live in. Most states will provide the blank forms for free, but these templates can be difficult to tailor to individual needs. It is also important to make sure that your living will is signed, witnessed, and notarized to make it official.
There are different options to create an online living will app, including My Living Wishes. There are some advantages to creating your living will online. The advanced directive is always available to your doctors and loved ones no matter where you are. This is a 100% legal document, so you can rest assured that a technicality won’t interfere with your care. You won’t need to pay legal fees. You can also easily update your preferences if your situation changes.
Once you’ve completed your living will, you will need to make sure your friends and doctors can help access it. If you created a paper document, you would need to store it in a safe place. One good place may be a filing cabinet with other estate planning documents or a home safe. You should also give a copy to your healthcare agent (if you have one) and your doctor.
If you have created a living will using an online tool or app, you will need to let your loved ones know about the document and how to access it.
As you age and your health changes, you will want to update your healthcare preferences. If you are updating a paper document, you will need to be certain to send updated copies to everyone who received one of the original documents. Updating online living wills is a simper process. All you need to do is update the file online, and if someone needs to access the file, they automatically see the most updated version of the document.
No one wants to think about detailing their end-of-life wishes, but it can be a true kindness to your family in troubling times. By making your wishes known, you can help your loved ones and doctors honor your wishes and make difficult decisions easier.
Get started creating your online living will today, and make tomorrow easier for your family.