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What do you know about a living will?

As part of estate planning, you may want to create an advanced directive to ensure that your loved ones know and honor your desires concerning your medical and health care decisions should you become incapacitated. Do you know what your advanced directive options are?

The American Cancer Society explores the living will. Learn if this directive makes for a good inclusion in your estate.

The basics

By creating a living will, you note your choice of health care decisions if you become permanently unconscious, terminally ill or are otherwise at the end of your life. Besides the care you want to receive, you also note what type and level of care you do not desire. For instance, your will notes under what medical conditions you want to either start or stop attempts to prolong your life.

Before your living will “activates,” two doctors must confirm that you cannot make your own medical decisions. They must also verify that under Florida law, you are permanently unconscious or terminally ill.

The considerations

When composing your living will, think about if you like the idea of machines keeping you alive. Do you want a medical team to resort to CPR or similar techniques to resuscitate you? If you cannot eat or drink, would you want a feeding tube feed into your stomach or an IV inserted into you? Consider if you want to receive palliative care or comfort care to address nausea, discomfort and similar symptoms. Also, note if you want to donate your organs.

Well-written living wills can help avoid a lot of confusion and heartache for families with an incapacitated loved one. If you prefer using one, a legal professional could help ensure that you make the most of the essential estate planning document.

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