Do I Need A Living Will?
The Living Will is a short document which accompanies the Advance Health Care Directive and which specifically expresses an individual‘s desires with regard to life–prolonging/life–sustaining treatments. Although the Living Will has independent legal significance, the document can be very important for providing psychological comfort to the individual called upon to make difficult medical decisions, such as terminating life–support. Many pet owners understand the significant psychological trauma that accompanies end of life decisions with regard to a family pet. That psychological trauma is significantly magnified with regard to a loved one such as a spouse or parent.
The existence of a Living Will can permit the individual tasked with such difficult decisions to take comfort in their knowledge that they are dutifully honoring the wishes of the dying spouse or parent, and avoid potential long–term feelings of guilt or regret. Likewise, a written expression of an individual‘s end of life preferences can prevent or greatly minimize the likelihood of serious (sometimes permanent) disagreements among the surviving family members.