While wills allow people to distribute their assets following death, living wills allow people to express their wishes to their doctors in case of incapacitation. Someone who drafts a living will with a will lawyer near Tracy and Manteca can outline whether or not to artificially prolong life if a devastating injury or illness occurs. Oftentimes, a will lawyer will combine the living will with a health care proxy, which designates someone to make health care decisions in cases of incapacitation.
Determining Your Wishes
If you create a living will, this written document will outline what medical treatments you approve for keeping you alive. You can also outline other medical decisions, including pain management and organ donation. Making these kinds of decisions can be difficult, so you need to closely consider your values. For example, consider how important it is for you to be independent and self-sufficient. You should also talk with your attorney about whether or not there are any situations in which you would like your treatment extended. For example, assess whether you would only want treatment if recovery is possible.
A great way to evaluate your wishes in your living will is to talk to your doctor, health care agent, or family and friends. Tapping into these resources can help you organize your thoughts and feelings about end-of-life care. Additionally, resources to help you make this important decision are available through the American Bar Association, the Center for Practical Bioethics, and the Conservation Project.
Addressing Possible Decisions
If you are unsure of any possible end-of-life care decisions, you should seek clarification from your doctor or another trusted medical professional. In your living will, you need to address resuscitation, which restarts your heart if it has stopped beating. You will also need to determine whether you want mechanical ventilation, which takes over breathing if you are unable to breathe on your own. In this situation, you need to determine if and for how long you would allow mechanical ventilation. Other issues to discuss with your attorney include tube feeding, dialysis, and organ donation.