Minnesota adults regardless of their age and health should consider making a living will. While many people think of becoming incapacitated as something that will only happen when they are older, an accident or a sudden illness can leave a person of any age unable to express their wishes about their medical treatment.
A living will can specify an individual’s wishes about issues like remaining on life support and circumstances in which they do not wish to be resuscitated. Some individuals may always choose every life-saving measure available while others may want to be removed from life support machines at some stage.
A living will can also name a health care proxy. This is the person who makes medical decisions after an individual is unable to communicate their wishes. One advantage of a living will is that it can remove some of the burden of making decisions from the family and well as the person appointed under the health care proxy. Even when they feel they have made the best decision possible, loved ones may question those decisions when they have had little guidance. A living will can provide that guidance.
Individuals who are preparing living wills or other estate planning documents may wish to consult an attorney. These documents may sometimes require very precise legal language or procedures to ensure that they are correct. Furthermore, individuals may wish to consider other provisions in the event that they are incapacitated as well. For example, they may wish to establish a power of attorney so that someone can take care of financial matters. Parents may wish to appoint guardians for their children.One more advantage of this type of estate planning is that it often provides the opportunity for individuals to communicate with loved ones about their plans and wishes. This helps to ensure those wishes will be carried out.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, “Why You Need a Living Will – Even at Age 18”, Amir Kahn, Dec. 19, 2014