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What is a living will?

Did you know that you are six times more likely to be disabled than you are to die in any given year? This is why a living will is a good idea to have. Not next week. Not tomorrow. But right now.

A living will is a document you create, typically with an attorney, that explains which medical procedures and medication you want and which ones you don't if you are seriously injured and cannot tell them yourselves. For example, if you are in a coma, a living will can stipulate whether or not you want to be placed on a ventilator, and how long you want medical services provided if you are neurologically non-responsive.



What does a living will do?

A living will is sometimes called a directive to physicians or an advance directive. It says what you do and do not want done to you if you are incapacitated. A living will is only valid while you are alive.

How is a living will different than a will?

A living will is different than a last will and testament because it does not distribute your wealth- it doesn't say "who gets what." A living will typically does not appoint someone to make decisions for you. This is usually done in a health care proxy. 

At what age should you get a living will?

You may, at age 18 or 25 or 30 have very strong feelings about medical personnel taking every measure possible to keep you alive. You may want them to take extraordinary measures because you know you will fight to regain your abilities, even if you have been in a coma for a week, a month or longer.

Conversely, you may of an age where you feel you have lived a full life. You may believe that when your time is up, your time is up. In this case you may state that you do not want your health care team to intervene or take heroic measures to keep you "artificially alive." Your directions may be simply to keep you as comfortable as possible and not to place you on a respirator. So, the answer to the question about what age should you have a living will is ANY age. 

A very simple step to save your loved ones unnecessary agony

Living wills are typically not complex nor are they time consuming to create. A living will makes your wishes known in a written statement. This means that your loved ones do not have to guess, argue or fight over which measures to take. This is perhaps the greatest benefit of a living will. 

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