It is impossible to know what will happen in the future, which is why it’s important to have plans in place to protect both yourself and your loved ones. In addition to establishing a will, and perhaps a trust for your beneficiaries, it’s important to have a living will.

In the event that you are incapacitated due to illness or injury, a living will outlines the medical care you do and do not want to receive. A living will is also commonly referred to as a health care directive or advanced directive. Even if you are young and in good health, establishing a living will is a smart step for any Pennsylvania resident who wishes to maintain a measure of control over potential health care needs. 

What should I include in my living will?

A living will is a way for you to make important decisions about your health in the event that you cannot speak for yourself. The directives outlined in a living will are only applicable in very serious situations, such as being in a vegetative state or being unable to communicate due to a terminal illness. Your living will can outline your wishes related to the following matters:

  • Resuscitation
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Organ donation
  • Palliative care
  • Dialysis
  • Tube feeding
  • Donating your body to science

While it can be hard to think about these types of issues, having a living will protects your loved ones from being forced to make very difficult decisions during an incredibly emotional time.

Many people find that it is also beneficial to discuss these particular medical issues with a health care professional in order to make the most appropriate decisions when drafting a living will. A small effort in the present can save your family from unnecessary duress in the future, as well as provide you with deserved peace of mind.

Your body, your choice

Ultimately, a living will provides you the opportunity to protect your right to decide what happens to your body in the event you become incapacitated. If you do not have this document as part of your estate plan, it’s a good idea to discuss the process of drafting a living will with an experienced legal professional.