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What are the advantages of a living will?

Many of us have a beloved senior citizen in our lives, and they may live in Fort Myers or elsewhere here in Florida. They could be a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or special family friend. These people fill our lives with joy, and we treasure the special times we are able to share with them. Unfortunately, being a senior citizen means that they are susceptible to the illnesses that accompany old age. So, it is important to make sure that these people have the proper legal documents in place, such as a will to carry out their wishes. One special document that offers tremendous advantages is a living will.

A living will is a set of instructions drawn up by someone that tells his or her family what type of medical care they want in case they cannot verbalize their wishes. A living will can also be known as a healthcare directive. The document can be very specific and spell out minute details about the type of care desired, or it can be more general in nature and offer care guidelines to the family.

While a living will can instruct family and medical personnel to withhold specific types of end of life care, it can also offer clear instructions on the type and extent of medical care to provide. The person drawing up the living will can state exactly what type of medical care they want for specific conditions. So, it is helpful if the person considering a living will speaks with his or her doctor to find out what type of treatment options are available for specific health conditions.

Many people are afraid to consider a living will because they think that medical personnel may let them die, even though they may be able to get better. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that a living will is not triggered unless the individual has been diagnosed with being in a permanent vegetative state.

A living will can bring a degree of peace to a family who is naturally upset at the condition of an aged loved one. It is almost like a gift from that family member, since it alleviates many critical healthcare decisions that a family would have to make on that person's behalf.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Living wills: introduction," accessed on April 21, 2015

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