Written Will vs. Living Will

Last week, we talked about a Written Will which basically states what you want to happen to you and your assets after you die.  But what happens while you are still alive with a terminal condition and are unable to speak for yourself?

In this case, you need a Living Will.  You need to have documented who you would like to speak for you in the case that you are unable to speak for yourself.  They need to know what your wishes and desires are in regards to your medical care. Basically, you will be able to write out what you want and what you do not want to happen if you were in critical care.  

You can not only decide what treatments you want or do not want but also the duration of your treatments.  No, this is not fun to think about. But it is incredibly important that you are able to have your wishes carried out in an event such as this one.  

Here are a couple of questions that you should think about:

  • If you cannot eat or drink on your own, do you want nutrients and water through a feeding tube?
  • If you cannot breathe on your own, do you want a respirator to prolong your life?
  • If your condition is terminal, do you want to continue to receive treatments such as radiation, chemotherapy or dialysis?
  • Do you want to be kept free of pain and comfortable during a final illness?

Again, these are not fun things to think about but if you are ever admitted into the hospital with a terminal illness, you will want your loved ones and your medical professionals to know your wishes BEFORE you are unable to speak for yourself.

Lastly, when thinking about your medical directives, you should know what questions to ask your doctor.  Most people, when faced with a critical illness, will ask, “Is there anything you can do?”. However, you should instead ask, “Is this treatment going to be a bridge to healing or will it just prolong death?”.  This is important because there is almost always SOMETHING that a doctor can do for your illness. However, if it will just be painful and not actually make you better, do you really want it?

Statistics show that 40% of procedures done after the age of 65 are not only unnecessary and expensive but can also actually cause harm to the patient!  

Do not let this happen to you or your loved ones.  Make sure you have a Living Will today and hope that you never have to use it!  


Need more information on end of life planning?  Check out ForeTalk – a complete and simplified guide to prepare for one of every family’s most difficult times written and taught by Stan Craig HERE.

Check out our interview with Stan Craig where he goes into more detail about end of life planning HERE.  You can listen to the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE.  While you’re here, make sure to subscribe and leave us a rating to let us know what you think!  


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