Living Wills, or end-of-life directives, are essential to any estate plan. They clearly spell out how you want to be cared for when you reach the end of your life, or if you are otherwise incapacitated. Do you want feeding tubes? Do you want doctors to perform CPR? Having your wishes known, and documented, lessens the burden on your family, especially during this emotionally-charged time.
Difference Between a Living Will and a DNR
Some think a DNR, or "Do Not Resuscitate" order, can serve as a living will. However, a DNR only instructs health care providers to not perform CPR should you stop breathing. A living will details if, in an end of life situation, you wish to be kept alive on life support.
Ensure Your Family Can Access Your Living Will
Creating a Living Will is just the first step. Your family needs to know how to access this vital document when the time comes. It doesn’t help much if you’ve gone through the effort of creating one but nobody knows about it or where to find it.
There are many options available to make access easier. It can be as simple as providing a copy to family members when you create it. You can also employ more technological solutions such as housing a digital copy with the state or with a company that specializes in these services. For an example of one of these companies, visit Legal Directives LLC.
Whichever you choose, be sure to keep your Living Will updated with your wishes. Health can change and as we age, you may choose to alter your end-of-life care instructions.