Mindful Living

Why You Must Make a Living Will

Why you must make a Living Will

Considering the worst that could happen probably isn’t the most cheery thing to think about. Nevertheless, it is something that does need thinking about. No matter what your age or circumstances, we all need to consider our future from time to time. I have already spoken about organ donation and how just one donation can save eight lives. One of the other ways we can consider our future is with a living Will. However very few people know what one is and fewer have actually prepared one. Let’s delve into what a living Will is, what you need to include in it, and why it’s so important to have one.

See, loss of a loved one envelops us in grief and lasts a long time to come. The fact remains, however, that we have to deal with their financial matters—preferably at the earliest. If they also happen to be terminally ill, a Living Will makes things much easier. Without one, the complications one can face are crazy.

When my Mom passed away, she left no Will

When we rushed my Mom to emergency care following an unexpected collapsed lung, they put her on life support, and little did we know that five days later, she would pass away. On day 4, the doctors told us that the prognosis was not good and we should consider “pulling the plug”—a decision I would never have the guts to take. The following day, she succumbed to a massive heart attack.

We donated her body as per her wishes, but it wasn’t easy. Our family wasn’t happy—and today, I am more or less cut off from everyone. Perhaps if she had made a Living Will stating her preferences, it could have been less painful.

Not to bore you with further details, I’d rather tell you why making a Living Will is crucial—both for yourself and your near and dear ones. It makes difficult decisions easier for family and the medical professional.

But first,

What is a living Will?

There are various types of living Wills, but the basis behind them remains the same. A living Will is a way of setting out your wishes for the future if you were to fall terminally ill or have lost the mental capacity to make decisions about medical treatment. Effectively, it lets your healthcare team (and family) know what your wishes are if you are unable to communicate them. Of course, thinking about this kind of thing isn’t the most pleasant, but it is important.

There are two categories of living Wills:

  • an advance statement – this will detail what kind of treatment you would like to receive if you were to become terminally ill
  • an advance decision – will detail any types of treatment you want to refuse in the future should you be in an accident and unable to communicate your wishes

An advance statement is not legally binding, but should be considered by your health care team and loved ones if you become unwell. An advance decision, however, can be made legally binding.

How to create a living Will

How you create your living Will depends on whether you are opting for an advance statement or advance decision. It’s best to consider both options, but remember that only one can become legally binding. If you wish to create an advance statement, it should include details such as

  • where you would like to be cared for (at home, in hospital, or in a hospice),
  • foods you like or any dietary requirements you have,
  • any religious beliefs or values, who you would like to visit you, and
  • any likes or dislikes.

You must write this down and give copies to your health care provider and anyone else in charge of your care.

An advance decision is slightly different, as it can become legally binding if it is valid and signed by yourself and a witness. This living Will must detail what kind of treatment you refuse and under what circumstances. It must be extremely clear about when you want to refuse treatment, such as CPR or life-support, even if it would lead to your death. The statement “even if life is at risk as a result” should be included if you wish to refuse treatment that may lead to your passing. It is essential to discuss all of the particulars with your healthcare professional before preparing this kind of living Will.

Why you must prepare a living Will #life #LivingWill #Mindfulness

Why it’s important to prepare a living Will

There are many reasons to prepare a living Will, no matter what your circumstances. The most vital reason is that it will provide your loved ones with your wishes when you may be unable to communicate them yourself. They may already be going through a difficult and emotional time, knowing that you are unwell, and there will be plenty of things to think about; for example, finances.

Research by Direct Line found that even a death in service benefit is leaving many families with a huge mortgage shortfall. If the worst were to happen to you, it’s essential your loved ones have all of the information they possibly can. And that doesn’t just mean who gets what! Let them know your wishes for your own care, to make a difficult time just that little bit easier. Many people may also wish to refuse treatment due to religious beliefs or values. If this is the case, it’s imperative you let your wishes known as soon as possible.

A living Will is not something that everyone knows about, but it is something that everyone should have. Even if you’re young and fighting fit now, life can take us down difficult paths. Make sure you make things as easy as you can for your loved ones, by preparing a living Will.

I know I will.

Do you have a living Will?

Is this something you’d consider?

Let me know in the comments.

5 Comments

  • Reply
    How do we know
    August 22, 2018 at 10:34 am

    This is a very important post and you have explained it really well. Thank you!

  • Reply
    How do we know
    August 22, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Ok came back and read the post now. Very detailed and informative post. To answer your question, not only am i interested in making a living will, i also intend to make it legally binding. I thought a living will has been given legal sanctity by the SC some time ago. Thank you for mentioning the fine print.

    I also have another doubt: if i have an insurance policy that specifically precludes suicide, and my living will has the “no resuscitation” clause, can the insurance company deny the claim as “suicide”?

    Likewise for refusal of treatment. Can the insurance company treat that as suicide?

    Thank you so much again for this post.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      August 22, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      Thank you for your comment! I think the legal questions are best answered by a qualified legal expert. I think insurance companies are pretty strict on their policy related to suicide regardless of Living Wills. So when you make yours legally binding, better to ask the legal expert drawing it up.

  • Reply
    G Angela
    August 30, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Useful and Informative post vidya, its so important and I agree with everything you have spoken… thanks for sharing and hope to have a will written, most of the financial and property issues after the death of parents cause a great deal of conflicts among siblings and few who are manipulative grab without sharing with siblings.
    G Angela recently posted…Gratitude for August 2018

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