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Living Wills

Living Will Attorneys in Chesterfield, MO, Assisting Clients With the Process of Recording Their Wishes for Medical Care

Have you ever been to a new doctor for your first consultation and been asked if you have a living will? Living wills are an important part of your estate plans; everyone should have one. Our attorneys explain what you need to know about living wills and how a lawyer can help you draft this key document.

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is part of a set of documents called an advance health care directive. The living will is the main component that allows a person to record their wishes for how they would like to be treated while they are still alive but in an incapacitated state that makes them unable to speak for themselves. It can include their preferences for which doctors and hospitals they would like to be treated by and what kind of treatment they would like to receive.

For example, if a person has any religious or cultural preferences, such as being treated by a healthcare professional of the same gender or not receiving treatments with certain animal origins, they can record all of these preferences in their living will. They may also include their preferences towards receiving CPR, dialysis, and being placed on artificial life support, medical treatments, and some even include their end-of-life care and funeral preferences.

What Is a Healthcare Proxy and How Do I Appoint One?

There are, however, certain situations that require someone to make medical decisions based on the present facts, and these situations may not be sufficiently covered in your living will. That is when you will want to appoint a healthcare proxy to advocate on your behalf and make crucial healthcare decisions for you based on your preferences.

Your healthcare proxy is an individual chosen by you (usually a family member) to speak on your behalf and make medical treatment decisions while you are incapacitated. Simply put, your living will record all your preferences and wishes for care, and your healthcare proxy speaks on your behalf to make sure that those wishes are respected. You may appoint a proxy through a document called a Medical Power of Attorney.

Can My Living Will Be Changed if My Wishes Change?

As the years go by, it is natural for your personal preferences and medical wishes to change. Maybe you have become more open to the idea of receiving CPR in an emergency, or your dietary preferences have changed, and you no longer wish to receive animal-based medications or fluids. Whatever your preferences may be, you should be sure to update your living will periodically to make sure it still accurately reflects your wishes for care.

This is also true for all other estate planning documents. Make sure to revisit them every few years and keep them updated so that they will work how you intended them to when and if the time comes. A living wills attorney can help you with the process of drafting and updating all of your documents.

What Happens if I Don’t Have a Living Will in Chesterfield, MO?

If you end up in a situation that leaves you terminally ill or incapacitated, such as an accident leading to a coma, a vegetative state, or a brain injury, or even if you become mentally incapacitated due to an illness, dementia or mental health crisis, your loved ones may or may not know exactly what you would have wanted them to do as far as the type of care you would rather receive and how to determine health care decisions.

That may lead to disagreements and family conflicts, making a bad situation even more stressful. In the end, you may end up receiving certain types of care that go against your personal preferences. With a living will, you have better chances of avoiding that situation.

It is understandable that most people find it scary and unpleasant to think of a situation in which they would be incapacitated, but taking the time to record your wishes for care is extremely important not just for you but also for your family members.

To make the process easier, it is best to receive guidance from an experienced living will lawyer. At , our living wills attorneys can guide you through each step of the process of drafting your living will legal document. Contact our law firm in Chesterfield, MO, at to see how we can help you.