Several questions everyone should ask themselves when preparing a living will, advance medical directive or other legal documents

There are several questions everyone should ask themselves when preparing a living will, advance medical directive or other legal documents that have a direct impact on how a medical emergency should be handled by healthcare professionals. Elder law attorneys know that fewer than 70% of families actually make the correct choice when they are forced to guess at what their loved ones want done. Physicians are even more apt to make a judgment call that isn’t in line with their patients’ final wishes or religious beliefs.

Before you begin to prepare an advance directive or living will with your estate planning lawyers, carefully consider some important questions:

Do you want doctors to take extreme lifesaving measures if you’re unable to make the decision for yourself?

What do you consider extraordinary lifesaving techniques? Do you want a feeding tube if you can’t feed yourself? Do you consider a respirator an extraordinary lifesaving device?

What do you consider a good “quality of life?” Determine the most basic requirements your health must meet in order to give you an acceptable quality of life.

Are there any medical or end-of-life procedures such as CPR, an organ transplant or blood transfusions that go against your spiritual beliefs? If so, be sure these are included in your advance directive and living will. It is just as important to clearly convey what you don’t want as what you do want.

An elder law attorney can help you ask yourself the right questions and outline legal documents that address all of these issues so that your children or loved ones don’t have to second guess your wishes or suffer needless guilt after they make a decision regarding your care. It can also cut down on the chances that your final wishes will have to be hashed out by a litigation attorney.

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