With the uncertainty the coronavirus brings, it is important to have clarity and peace of mind wherever you can. A living will can be of assistance in this area.
A living will, sometimes called a health care directive, advance directive and/or a personal directive, is a legal document that allows you to state your wishes for end-of-life medical care. This document takes effect only when it’s determined that you can no longer communicate your wishes about treatment. It provides invaluable guidance to family members and healthcare professionals. Unexpected end-of-life situations are currently happening for people of all ages, as such it's important for all adults to prepare these documents.
What can be included in a living will?
There are many medical decisions that can be addressed in a health care directive.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) Determine if and when you would want to be resuscitated by CPR or by a device that delivers an electric shock to stimulate the heart.
- Mechanical ventilation Consider if, when and for how long you would want to be placed on a mechanical ventilator.
- Tube feeding Decide if, when and for how long you would want to be fed nutrients and fluids intravenously or via a tube.
- Dialysis Determine if, when and for how long you would want to receive this kidney treatment.
- Antibiotics or antiviral medications If you were near the end of life, would you want infections to be treated aggressively or would you rather let infections run their course?
- Comfort care (palliative care) includes any number of interventions that may be used to keep you comfortable and manage pain while abiding by your other treatment wishes. This may include being allowed to die at home, getting pain medications, being fed ice chips to soothe mouth dryness, and avoiding invasive tests or treatments.
- Organ and tissue donations for transplantation can be specified in your living will.
- Donating your body for scientific study also can be specified. Contact a local medical school, university or donation program for information on how to register for a planned donation for research.
Make sure your wishes are known should something happen to you. That means having up-to-date and effective legal documents, including your personal directive, enduring power of attorney and last will and testament. Consult with an experienced estate planner. They will guide you through the process, discuss the possibilities, and design a document that works for you.
MacMillan Estate Planning offers a holistic approach to estate planning with all the people, processes, and technology that you need. Our team of lawyers, accountants, financial planners and counsellors offer a refreshing alternative to the banks, law firms and accountancy firms. Register for one of our upcoming seminars, now held virtually as per government recommendations. You can also take advantage of our complimentary and virtual consultations; call us at 1-833-266-6464 to get started on protecting your estate.