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Do you need a living will?

Posted on May 16, 2017

Planning for the eventuality of death might seem like a morbid task, and when you are in your 20s, you probably do not spend a lot of time worrying about terminal illness and fatal accidents. Unfortunately, tragedies do happen, and when they do, having a living will can be a significant help to your family. Here are a few reasons St. Louis Generation Xers should start thinking about creating a living will right now.

In the event of a serious accident or unexpected death, your family may be faced with the difficult task of trying to guess your wishes. Such circumstances only increase the pain of losing a loved one and may leave family members feeling guilty. US News and World Report stresses that creating a living will (also known as an advance directive) is the best strategy for ensuring that your family knows exactly what you want in terms of end-of-life care and your preferences with respect to the hardest decisions, such as when to terminate life support.

Your living will becomes effective only when you are being kept alive by life support. Thus, it should provide explicit instructions about how you want to be treated in this situation. Do you want to be kept on life support? Do you want doctors to cease support when it becomes clear that no other options are available? Your living will should answer these questions and, in addition, appoint someone you trust to act as your proxy in health care matters. This proxy will have the responsibility of making decisions when you cannot.

Having a living will can be beneficial to you and your family in a number of ways. Not only does the document provide a clear picture of your expectations with regard to end of life, but it also can minimize the emotional and financial burden families face in trying to make crucial care decisions for someone they love.

This information is provided for information purposes and is not intended as expert legal advice.