What Should You Include in a Living Will?

By Chris Tymchuck
Founding Attorney

Living wills and other advance health care directives provide instructions regarding your medical treatment preference should you be incapacitated and unable to communicate your wishes for yourself. These critical legal documents are not just for the elderly. They are not just for the infirm. They are for everyone because life happens. The unexpected happens. Accidents happen. By putting these directives in place, you can be sure that you will get the medical care you want and avoid any medical interventions you may not want.

What Should You Include in A Living Will?

A living will is a legal document that outlines your medical care preferences, end of life care in particular, so that your wishes are known in the event you cannot speak for yourself. Not only does this mean that, in memorializing your wishes, others will be able to know what you would have wanted should certain medical questions about your care arrive, but it also relieves your family and loved ones from being placed in the difficult position of having to guess what you would have wanted. There will be no need for any disagreement over what you would have wanted. Should you become incapacitated, your family and loved ones will need plenty of room to grieve, heal, and support one another. Taking out the guesswork of the care you would have wanted will be a huge weight lifted from their shoulders.

Living wills can be very minimalist or they can be extensive and cover a wide variety of issues in depth. It is generally recommended that you make your living will as detailed as possible. The more information you can provide, the better. When your living will is being drafted, it is time to reflect on your values. What quality of life is a non-negotiable for you? This is because things such as life-sustaining treatments should be addressed in your living will. Consider under what circumstances you would or would not want treatment to extend your life. Life prolonging medical treatments may include:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Blood transfusions
  • Ventilator
  • Dialysis
  • Surgery
  • Intravenous food and water

You may be open to these kinds of treatments under all circumstances. You may only be open to these treatments under certain circumstances. You may wish to forego life-sustaining treatments and opt for palliative care to reduce the pain. You can also address things such as whether or not you want to donate your body or organs. Some people also choose to address their burial or cremation wishes in their living will.

Health Care Directive Attorney

While thinking of these potential situations, even in a hypothetical sense, can be incredibly difficult, you are doing yourself and your loved ones an invaluable service by confronting them. At Unique Estate Law we are here to listen to you. We draft health care directives and other estate planning documents that fully reflect your individual circumstances and wishes. Contact Unique Estate Law today.

About the Author
As a Minneapolis Estate Planning and Probate attorney I help build and protect families through the adoption, estate planning, and probate processes. I also have experience working with families on issues related to their small businesses. I know how difficult it is to find time to plan for the future and I am here to help walk you through it.