Many people wonder how to use a living will template to make their own will. Here are some tips and basic info that you need to know.
What is a living will
Unlike a will, which is a document intended for use after your death, a living will is a document that is intended for use while you’re alive. It contains instructions regarding your wishes for palliative medical care, in case you end up unable to communicate your wishes on your own.
This document is extremely important for minimizing and preventing disputes between family members – and between medical professionals – about how best to treat you. Without such a document, these disagreements over your care can quickly turn painful for all involved, and sometimes end up in a courtroom.
If you ever change your mind about the kind of care you’d like to receive, you are free to revoke your existing living will and create a new one.
How to create yours with a living will template
Living will forms are widely available. If the idea of doing this 100% by yourself is intimidating, or you worry that you might forget to include something, you can get the help of a lawyer or legal document prep service. If you’re on a budget, you’ll typically find that it’s more affordable to get help from a legal document preparer compared to a lawyer.
What to include in your living will
Be sure to name the person who will be your medical power of attorney if the time comes that you are unable to make health care decisions for yourself. People commonly choose their spouse, a trusted family member or friend, or a member of their religious community for this role. It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in the event that your first choice is unable to take on this role when you need them to – be sure to name an alternate person to be your medical power of attorney, just in case.
Note that the person you choose cannot be your doctor or part of your medical team, and they must be willing to discuss these sensitive issues with you. Additionally, try to choose someone who will advocate for you if there are disagreements about how best to treat you.
Include instructions on what kind of medical treatments you are, and are not, willing to undergo. State whether or not you want your organs to be donated, and if they are to be used for life-saving purposes or scientific study. Consider the kind of circumstances under which you’d want to forego life-sustaining treatment – many people have a point beyond which they’d like to allow nature to take its course – give some thought to what your limits are.
Your living will can include instructions related to whether or not you’d want to be resuscitated if your heart stops, and if you want mechanical ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, and medication in various circumstances. Be sure to discuss different scenarios with your doctor prior to preparing a living will, to ensure you understand the consequences of potential decisions.
A living will template can be a huge help when it’s time to prepare your living will
If you don’t want to spend big bucks on a lawyer, or merely are very independent, preparing your own living will is definitely easier if you use a template, as opposed to “winging it”. A template will give you a starting point, and get you going in the right direction. And remember, if you need some help, a legal document prep service is worth consulting and very affordable.