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What you should know about living wills

Although a living will is a type of legal document that reflects your wishes, it is not really a will in the traditional sense. Instead, the idea of a living will is that it makes your health care wishes known should you become too sick or unable to make medical decisions on your own. This document is sometimes also known as a health care directive.

When many people think about living wills, they mistakenly believe that the only thing a living will does is tell a doctor or health care provider to withhold medical treatment. While this is sometimes part of the type of instructions that a living will may include, it also allows the person to choose what type of medical treatments or options they may want and what type of treatments they wish to exclude. As an example, if a person was unable to take in food or water on their own, the living will could state that if there was little chance of recovery, the person would like to receive water but would not want a feeding tube for nourishment.

Interestingly, although living wills are a valuable instrument that can allow an individual to make his or her wishes known, some people remain uneasy about creating them because they fear that a doctor may think it is their wish to die even if there is a way that they could recover. This fear is actually unfounded, however, because a living will does not legally come into place unless it is determined that the individual is terminally ill or in a vegetative state that makes them unable to verbally communicate their own desire for medical preferences.

Individuals who are interested in learning more about living wills may find valuable information on the website.

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