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Do you need a living will? Maybe

Planning for the future is something we have been doing since we were children. You planned to go to college, major in finance, eventually buy a house in Fort Meyers and a start a family. You even started planning for your (hopefully) early retirement.

It is common for us to plan for the positive things in our lives. When we start looking at more negative aspects, such as creating a will or making a plan in case of incapacitation, most of us prefer to take advice from our ostrich friends and stick our heads in the ground. Unfortunately, ignoring the possibility of suffering from a debilitating accident is not a solution.

When many people start the estate planning process, they focus on what will happen to their assets and property when they pass away. You also have the option to create a living will. In general, a living will acts as a health care directive in case you are ever in a position where you cannot make your own decisions regarding medical treatment. Read further to find out more about living wills and their benefits.

Overview

Included in your living will will be your preferences when it comes to certain life-prolonging treatment and procedures. For example, if you suffer an accident that leaves you in a vegetative state, your living will might specify a certain timeframe to keep you in such a state before your doctor can remove you from life support.

In order to create a living will, the person must be a competent adult in the eyes of the law. You can name a specific individual in the living will to carry out your health care wishes on your behalf. This individual will, essentially, be speaking for you to ensure that your doctors follow the instructions you included in your living will.

Benefits of a living will

Creating a living will will not only benefit you, it will benefit your loved ones. By already addressing hard-to-handle issues, such as a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, you will save your family from having to make difficult decisions. In addition, by having an order in place that allows the hospital to cease life support if your chances of recovery are slim, your estate will not spend excessive amounts of money on your health care. This will leave property and assets in place that can benefit your spouse, children or other loved ones.

It is never too early to start making end-of-life decisions. From general estate planning to creating a living will, there are many options you can put into place to ensure your wishes are carried out if you become incapacitated or pass earlier than expected.

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