A living will is a document that is written by someone who is legally capable of making a decision of what to do in regards to healthcare in the event that they become seriously ill or injured. Living wills are common for people to write before a serious illness makes them incapable of making a decision on their own, or for someone who is worried about being becoming incapacitated in an accident, where they would remain on life support until they die. A living will can have many benefits and save family members lots of money and time, but they also have numerous cons.
Family Members Do Not Always Agree
In the case of a living will, the expression of what healthcare to provide may differ between family members and the person who wrote the will. For instance, if you are injured in a car accident and a coma results from the accident with a 5% chance of coming out of it, your living will may conflict with the emotions of your family members. A 5% chance is still a chance, and many family members would not want to cut off medical care.
The Document is not Legally Binding
According to annals.org, living wills are not a legally binding document for doctors or family members. Although a living will expresses what you wish to have happen in the event of becoming mentally incapacitated, it does not legally bind anyone to follow your wishes. The document, however, guides doctors as to what the best form of treatment, or lack of treatment in the given circumstance.
Writing up a living will with an attorney can be hard and emotional experience. Writing up the will can bring emotions of what will happen if you are ever incapacitated and your family member has to cut life support or deny care. That is not to say that you or your family would rather life support for 20-years, but according to annals.org, there is a direct correlation to hospital related mortality rates and living wills.
Place of Document
For a living will to be effective, it must be placed in the hands of your hospital, trusted family member or lawyer. Often time’s living wills are not effective because they are locked up or in a secret place that only the incapacitated person knows of, states annals.org. For this reason, a living will may feel like more of a hassle than something that may possibly save your family money and grief.