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What type of information could you include in a living will?

Having the ability to make your own decisions may have been something you felt strongly about since you reached adulthood, or maybe even before. When it comes to decisions regarding your body and health care, you undoubtedly want to ensure that you have the final say in any tests administered, medications taken or treatments undergone. While making these decisions may seem easy now, you may wonder what will happen if you become incapacitated.

Incapacitation could occur at any time in life due to an injury-causing accident or serious illness. Advanced age could also contribute to a person's inability to no longer make sound decisions or express those decisions for him or herself. Fortunately, you have options for planning ahead so that your loved ones understand how to make the best decisions regarding your care should you lose the ability to do so yourself.

Living will

You may have a familiarity with a last will and testament that allows you to express your wishes with regards to property distribution after your death and certain other details. However, another type of will, known as a living will, could address issues regarding your health while you are still alive. If you create a living will, you can detail how you want certain medical situations handled in the event that you cannot express your wishes when the issue arises.

The choices you make will likely prove deeply personal, and you may want to include your family while creating this document so that they will not feel caught off guard by your wishes should they have to implement them. You may want to include some care decisions in this document such as:

  • Life support wishes -- You can detail whether you would like to remain on mechanical ventilation in the event that you can no longer breath on your own.
  • Palliative care wishes -- Your living will can also include instructions on how to make you most comfortable should the end of your life come near.
  • Use of feeding tubes -- If a time comes when you can no longer eat on your own, your living will can detail whether you want to use feeding tubes and for how long.
  • Resuscitation wishes -- You may also want to include instructions as to whether medical professionals should attempt to resuscitate you if your heart stops.

These are just a few examples of the type of care information you may consider including in a living will.

Using your estate plan for end-of-life wishes

Your estate plan can act as a comprehensive set of instructions for various stages of your end-of-life and after-death wishes. If you feel that including a living will could benefit you, you may want to speak with a Nevada attorney about creating this type of document.

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