The importance of a living will

If you are injured in a serious accident, and are on life support, what would you like your family and doctors to do with you? Creating a living will, with your wishes, and which designates a person to make medical decisions for you, can lessen the trauma for your loved ones.

The importance of a living will

Source: Iona Minton

iafrica.com

If you are injured in a serious accident, and are on life support, what would you like your family and doctors to do with you? Creating a living will, with your wishes, and which designates a person to make medical decisions for you, can lessen the trauma for your loved ones.

Some subjects are not fun to write about, and the following one is no exception. Life is not all wine and roses and unpleasant areas need to be addressed in order to ensure that a calamity is not made worse by being unprepared.

I am sure you have heard about stories involving people injured in accidents and then becoming comatose. This is of course difficult to deal with, but can be compounded by the trauma of a family fighting about whether to remove life support.

Living will can prevent family trauma
While emotions run high about the morals and ethics of switching off the machines, the bottom line is that this tragic state of affairs could have been prevented by a simple document.

About the only thing the family, the courts and the media can agree on in situations like this is that it’s too bad the person didn’t have a living will. This is a document that notifies next of kin your wishes in this kind of situation. This legal document could end up being a vital part of your estate planning. It is however important to note that a living will is not related in any way, shape or form to the conventional will, and in fact you should have both.

In this document you should designate a person to make medical decisions for you when you are unable to do so yourself. If you have any strong feelings about certain medical procedures which may be life-sustaining, you can stipulate which of these you do not want. You can also stipulate your desire to be an organ donor or not.

Thoughtful answers needed
It’s easy to put this kind of planning off because choosing someone to make these decisions for you is a challenge in itself. There is also the additional stress of thinking about how long you want to stay on life support if your condition does not improve.

Hard questions like this deserve thoughtful answers. They deserve legal and financial consideration. You also don’t want to be in the situation where you are placing a financial burden on family members, so make sure that you know what your medical aid says about these issues.

See a legal advisor
If you are not sure where to start (most people are not), then I strongly recommend that you spend some time with a legal advisor. They can give you the necessary forms to complete, and point out all the areas that need to be covered.

Talking to close family members about your wishes is just as important as filling out the documents. Make sure they have a copy and that your doctor has them too. It is also important to revise the document every few years, as people and circumstances change.

Leave a reply

twenty − two =

Copyright © 2018 Bregmans | Designed By Right Click Media | Privacy Policy | Tel: +27 (0)11 646-0335 | E-mail: info@bmalaw.co.za