A living will, in essence, outlines the type of medical care you wish to include or exclude in the event that you become too ill to actually make an autonomous and informed decision. The directives may consist of your desire not to be given cardiopulmonary resuscitation in case of a cardiac or respiratory arrest.
You may even indicate your request not to receive tube feeding. Then again, it would be a good idea to be informed of the pros and cons of living wills prior to actually drafting one.
Pros Of Living Wills
Since living wills are considered to be legal documents, they need to be signed in the attendance of witnesses. Some states in the U.S. even require the presence of a Notary Public during the signing session. The very obvious importance of making a living will lies in the fact that this legally binding piece of document sheds light on what you – as the patient – want to happen in case something bad occurs and you become too unwell to the point of incapacity.
The phrasing in a living will, however, is meant to be rather vague so as to encompass a wide array of circumstances. In spite of this degree of ambiguity, you would be surprised to know how difficult the situation would be if you did not have one. Needless to say, the apparent beneficiary of this legal document is none other than you – the owner/maker.
In the nonexistence of a living will, some states necessitate the appointment of a patient advocate – someone who would essentially perform the decision-making in behalf of the patient. This individual, also known as the surrogate, may be a spouse, a family member, or a significant and trusted person.