Know the Correct Steps to Make a Living Will

Aug 08, 2018 | 4 months ago | Read Time: 3 minutes | By iKnowledge Team

A living will is a legal document through which you can provide your family, doctors, and/or caregivers information about any life-saving measures that you would or would not like to undergo. This includes resuscitation options, guidelines for medications, and your wishes regarding life support. Having a living will is necessary for someone who is terminally ill or in an advanced vegetative condition, according to the Supreme Court of India’s directives. Also, the person making a living will should be in a healthy and sound state of mind at the time of drafting a will. Basically, when you sit down to make a living will, it should be voluntary and not done under any coercion.

So, if you have made up your mind to draft a will, here is a step-wise guide on how to make a living will:

1. Get The Appropriate Form

You can try finding places that provide forms that draft a living will like https://www.ilrg.com/forms/livingwill.html. They usually cover the general points that are to be included in the will. But, if you think that your needs might not be covered, you can draft your own living will and get an attorney to make it legal.

2. Set The Initiation Date

In your living will, you need to mention an initiation date. This means your family and doctors will be aware when the will has to be implemented. Typically, you can use statements like “if and when the writer cannot make health care decisions” to describe the date when you want the living will to go into effect. Often there are situations that could go against what you mention in your will. The initiation date will come into effect at such times.

3. Mention People You Want Involved

Mentioning particular people that you want to be involved in decision-making for you is necessary. It reduces confusion among family members with regards to taking medical decisions on your behalf. The whole family cannot be in line to make those decisions. Other people that should be included are doctors, specialists and other medical personnel.

4. Select A Proxy

A proxy is someone who can make decisions on your behalf. In case you are unable to provide any input, this person can make medical decisions for you. A proxy is usually limited to just one or two persons. This prevents stress and confusion among your family and doctors at a critical stage. It allows only the designated person/s to be directly involved with your doctors.

5. Define Proxy’s Powers

Just appointing a proxy for yourself is not enough. In your living will, you need to determine limits to the proxy’s decision-making abilities. Doing so, can help him/her understand what needs to be done and to what extent.

6. Give Instructions For End-Of-Life Treatments

Provide guidelines specific to handling your medical treatment must. Ideally, instructions on issues such as blood transfusions, electroconvulsive therapy, amputation, certain types of surgery, and resuscitation are included. You can instruct your proxy to refuse any specific types of treatment unacceptable to you.

7. Give Limitations And Additional Instructions

Specify explicit end-of-life instructions in your living will. If in the future, you are unable to take rational decisions this clause will be helpful. For instance, you may want to be accommodated in an assisted-living home or

8. Protect Third Parties

Third parties like doctors can be protected from legal harm through a living will. A will can help take away responsibility from someone who objects to any decision taken by you or your proxy. If you want something done even after an objection, you can choose to be transferred to someone who is willing to honour your will.

9. Specify Organ Donation Options

In case of a premature death, your living will must give details on the status of your organs; if you wish to donate them. Your after-death intentions must be clearly stated in your will. This prevents frauds like organ racketeering.

10. Sign Your Will

In the end, your will must hold your lucid signature. Other signatures supporting your statements would include the proxy’s and the legal attorney present at the time. Witnesses, present may also be included.

A living will helps reduce stress on your loved ones in an unfortunate event. Your wishes might be respected and followed by your loved ones and doctors if the guidance is in writing. Your insurance policy proceeds can be used to ease the financial burden.

Advt. no.: IA/Jul 2018/4263


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