Estate Planning

Six Tips for Improving Your Living Will (Advance Decisions)

Making advance decisions is an important step in defining your end-of-life wishes. This article presents six tips for improving your living will.

Also called a living Will, healthcare power of attorney, doctor orders for life-sustaining treatment and more, an advance decision is a written statement meant to guide medical staff on the best way to proceed with your care if you are cognitively/mentally incapacitated.

Here are some tips to ensure your advance directive is followed:

1. Educate yourself on end-of-life medical care, such as resuscitation and life-sustaining treatment. This will give you more insight into what your choices could mean one day.

2. Pick a healthcare practitioner with the boldness to talk for you. An advance decision should be with you each time you visit any hospital or nursing facility, whenever an ambulance picks you up, or whenever you go to another healthcare provider.

3.Share and discuss your advance decision with that GP or health practitioner and your friends and family members. It is important for them to know the thought process that went into your choices.

4.Share and discuss your advance directive with your GP, doctor and other caregivers. If you change doctors or add specialists, talk about your advance directives with any new members of your health care team.

5.Update your advance directive annually. Your feelings about end-of-life decisions can change over time.

6. Check with your physician to make sure your medical record reflects that you have completed an advance directive, and that you and others know where to locate a copy.

The Goal

You want to make certain that the people you trust and love are clear on what you would want if you could not communicate your wishes. Even if your wishes are clearly stated, a relative or doctor could alter the outcome of your advance decision by simply insisting that he or she knows best. Make sure everyone is clear: advance decisions reflect decisions made while you are mentally clear and know what is right for you..

Keep your advance decision or living Will on SecureTheFile in our secure digital archive.