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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

What to address in a living will

No one likes to think about what might happen in the event of a serious accident, crash or illness. However, having certain plans in place may go a long way in terms of taking some of the strain off of your loved ones and ensuring your wishes come to fruition.

Per the American Cancer Society, one way you may be able to dictate what you want to happen in the event that the unexpected occurs is to draft something called a living will. What is a living will, and what sorts of decisions and preferences might you be able to outline in yours?

How a living will works

A living will is a type of advance directive that gives your doctors and loved ones something to reference if you become incapacitated and unable to express your wishes yourself. The living will typically come into play when one of two circumstances occur. It may need referencing if you develop a terminal illness, or it may come into play if you fall into a permanent state of unconsciousness.

What a living will dictates

You may use your living will to dictate your desires in many important areas. If you have strong feelings about whether you want doctors to keep you alive through artificial means, should the situation warrant it, you may express this in your living will. If you have preferences about whether to receive palliative care, you may also outline them in the living will. You may also address whether you want your medical team to feed or hydrate you and whether you want to become an organ donor, among other possible considerations.

Typically, the state of New York considers your living will valid if it offers clear and convincing evidence about your preferences.

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