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Specific details may prove useful in your living will

If you feel that the time has come to fully address your estate planning needs, among your priorities may be to understand planning tools that may also prove useful while you remain alive. Many people think that estate plans address only after-life desires, but certain documents could help individuals detail how they would like certain affairs handled in the event that they cannot do so for themselves.

In particular, a living will could prove useful to you. This type of document does not relate to your assets like a standard will does; instead, a living will details how you want your care handled in the event that you face a serious medical issue. This document can seem especially appealing because you generally can include any details you wish in reference to your care.


Because you can include even the most minute details in your living will, it may benefit you to make your instructions as specific as possible. You may consider including some general terminology relating to a situation in which the wishes in your living will should come into play, but terminology like "incapacitated" and "terminal condition" could have various interpretations. It may prove more useful to provide details on what you consider these terms to mean to lessen the variances.

Possible instructions

Your living will remains as unique to you as any other aspect of your estate plan. As mentioned, you can make it as detailed as possible, and you can include instructions for various types of medical events, acceptable treatment and undesired actions. Some common instructions left behind include:

  • Do not intubate: If you do not want a breathing tube inserted into your body, you can leave instructions indicating that intubation should not take place.
  • Do not resuscitate: Similarly, if you go into cardiac arrest and your heart stops beating, you can leave instructions that resuscitation should not occur if it is not your wish.
  • Medication stipulations: You may also include information regarding the types of medications you find acceptable for treating conditions.

You may also want to remember that you do not have to include any of these sorts of clauses in your living will. If you would like every effort to be made when it comes to treating your condition, you can indicate that in your documents.

Creating a living will

Because living wills are complex documents and could have considerable impact on your medical treatment in the future, you may want to consider carefully the details you want to include. Speaking with an attorney could help you better understand this document, its uses and the information you would be wise to provide.

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Leonard F. Berg, Attorney at Law