Living Wills

The Basics of a Living Will

A living will is a legal document that gives instructions on what to do and not to do if you become incapacitated and are unable to make these decisions. For example, if you get into an accident that causes a brain injury and are unable to make the most basic of decisions, you will need someone to make emergency health care decisions on your behalf.

elements of a living will

What Can Go Into a Living Will

A living will can and should include the following information:

Life-Prolonging Medical Care

Your living will should have instructions on whether you want certain medical treatments. This includes ones that will prolong your life if your life is near its end. For example, you need to be put on a respirator to help you breathe. This also includes the administration of food and water to help you survive.

Do Not Resuscitate

If you are near the end of your life and you stop breathing, what happens next? If you wish not to be resuscitated in an effort to prolong your life, put this information in your living will. It is also advisable to let your doctor or hospital know of your wishes.

Palliative Care

Also known as comfort care or pain management, you can specify in your living will that you wish to be comfortable and free of pain until you pass away. So although the doctors will not prolong your medical treatment, they will provide the necessary medication to keep you pain-free.

It is important to note that in May 2017, the Advance Directive for Health Care forms combined the content of the “Living Will” or “Advance Care Plan” and “Medical Power of Attorney” or “Appointment of Health Care Agent” into one model form adopted by the Board for Licensing Health Care Facilities.

This is why you need to update such an estate planning document regularly to ensure all elements are accounted for, or, if multiple exist, are not contradictory. A living will can and should include the following information:

Attorney creating a living will and trust

What to Consider When Drafting Your Living Will

Nobody wants to think of a time when they cannot care for themselves or communicate their end-of-life wishes. Knowing your options in the creation of your Tennessee living will may make the transition easier.

But remember, these wishes are not black and white. This is why you need to consider the following when creating your living will.

  • Do you want to receive treatment if there is a cure available for your ailment?
  • Under what situations would you feel your life was not worth living? (i.e., lack of independence, dependency on life support and other intrusive health measures, etc.)

You will also want to include information on organ donation, as sometimes the lack of written consent will overrule other intentions.

Do I Need a Living Will?

Many people believe that if they are young and healthy, a living will is not necessary. However, a living will is necessary for all adults, as well as mature and emancipated minors. Life can lead us to unexpected moments, including serious accidents or illnesses. If you are left incapable of making your own health care decisions, you’ll want to know that your life wishes are met.

Tennessee family holding hands after making a living will

Our Nashville Living Will Lawyers are Ready to Help

Trusting someone to make decisions for you in your place is no easy matter. Careful and detailed planning can help protect your future interests. The Nashville living will lawyers at MHPS can advise you on how to get your wishes across and help you select the correct person to be your power of attorney. We can then help devise appropriate instruments and documents to achieve those objectives.

Now is the time to plan for the worst. Contact our Nashville living will lawyers or visit our Wills FAQs page now for more information.