If you were to become incapable of making your own decisions, would you still want to have your wishes considered when others had to make medical decisions for you?
Do you want to be able to decide now about whether to refuse life sustaining treatment in certain situations?
If the answer to either question is yes, then you should consider making a Living Will (also known as an Advance Medical Directive.)
To many people a major fear is that the body continues to live but to all intents and purposes the mind is no longer functioning.
A Living Will is designed to cover this situation.
Some common questions and answers
- When should I make a Living Will? – Any time you like, in fact the sooner the better if you want to make your wishes known, provided you have sufficient mental capacity. Damage can occur through accident just as much as infirmity or illness.
- Do doctors follow the instructions in a Living Will? – Doctors will take the instructions into account. We advise that before making a Living Will, you should discuss it with your doctor. Once the Living Will has been made, copies should be sent to your doctor and any other medical experts who treat you, so that they are aware of your wishes. Of course, you should also tell your close relatives.
- What if I already have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)? – A Personal Welfare LPA can extend to making medical decisions involving accepting or refusing life-sustaining treatment if you become mentally incapable of making such decisions. A Living Will could provide your attorney with valuable guidance as to your wishes and provide comfort to them in dealing with such matters on your behalf. If you make a Living Will, then your attorney cannot make a decision in conflict with the Living Will. A Property and Affairs LPA does not cover medical decisions.
- Can I change my mind? – Yes, as long as you are mentally capable, you can cancel or alter your Living Will at any time.
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