Illness, severe injury and death are delicate subjects that are not easy to talk about. The main thing though is that by preparing in advance you can make sure that you receive the kind – or extent – of medical treatment you want.
If you want to take full advantage of the benefits of living wills, you should at least have a serious talk with your family, your close friends and your doctor. The most excellent approach would be to discuss these matters in a reassuring and factual manner.
The important conversation should include your philosophy about health care and the things you would want done in certain situations. In case your wishes are faced with intense moral opposition from your immediate family and/or friends, you may consider selecting or appointing someone more in line with your point of view as your health care surrogate. In this way, you will be assured that your surrogate will make decisions that are in accordance with your beliefs.
On the other hand, if you want to speak to your family or friends with the proposition that they also create a living will, be sure to prepare a good explanation to back it all up. You should put in plain words the importance of planning ahead and how these documents could be of assistance in very bad situations.
Without living wills, families could be torn apart and wrecked emotionally while trying to reach a consensus about what would be best for their seriously ill loved one. If this possibility seems unbearable for you to picture out, then make your mind up about whether to create a living will or not. You can never tell what will happen to you a year from now, next month, or perhaps tomorrow. So you might as well be safe than sorry for not making the right choice as early as possible.
Taking Care of the Paperwork
Since these documents are supposed to be legally binding, make sure that everything is put in writing. Every state has its own set of policies regarding this matter. The law in one state, concerning living wills, may not be consistent with that of another state.
You can get hold of the proper forms through your doctor or your health care provider. You can also visit various sites on the Internet to procure state-specific forms, complete with instructions on how you should properly fill them out. In addition, a variety of organizations – such as the National Hospital and Palliative Care Organization – also offers appropriate living will forms that are free of charge.
Then again, if you don’t mind shelling out some cash, you may seek advice from an attorney about this matter. This can be a wise move, especially if you have plans of transferring to another state – with a different set of rules concerning such legal documents.
Once you have completed the proper forms, hand copies of the living will to your immediate family members, friends, and family doctor. If you have appointed your own health care surrogate, don’t forget furnish him or her with a copy as well.
On no account should living wills be stashed in a safe deposit box. Doing so will only make it harder for your loved ones to get hold of the document when the need arises.