A Living Will is legal document, which usually outlines your wishes on medical treatment you receive, or don’t receive, should you not have the capacity to tell the doctors yourself at the time of needing the treatment.
Unlike a Will, a Living Will can only be used whilst you are still alive, and is often referred to as an advance decision, as it literally outlines your decisions on treatment, before the circumstances arise where you need to make them.
Why would I make a Living Will?
It can be tricky to talk about medical decisions with family members and, sadly, when a loved one is facing end of life treatment, people’s opinions can become clouded by their emotions, rather than always considering what is best for their loved one. Now, we’re not criticising; it’s incredibly hard to be in a position where you need to make decisions about a loved one’s treatment, especially when it could lead to you losing them. You may make a decision which is not in the best interests of your loved one, or what they would have wanted. To prevent your loved ones from being in this position if you are unable to make your own decisions, you could consider making a Living Will.
What Information should be included in a Living Will?
If you are considering making a Living Will, you may wish to include the following: -
Where you would like to be cared for, where possible. For example, your home, in a specific care home, or in a hospice.
Any dietary requirements you may have.
Foods that you do or do not like, or food that you would prefer to be given.
Whether you would rather have a bath or shower.
Your preference in clothing, shoes and makeup.
The type of music, TV and other activities that you would like to listen to or partake in.
Whether you have any specific sleep requirements. For example, sleeping with the lights on, what time you want to go to bed, and what time you like to get up.
Any religious or other beliefs that you may have.
Who you would like to see and have contact with.
The Wills, Trusts and Probate solicitors at MG Legal, advise that Living Wills can help to essentially get the ending you want, and therefore you should include any details that you think may be helpful to your loved ones and carers in helping this happen.
Who may use a Living Will?
Typically, Living Wills are used by people living with a lifelong condition who want their death to be as peaceful as possible. However, so long as you are over the age of 18 with the capacity to do so, then anyone can make a Living Will.
How do I draft a Living Will?
As with all legal documents, our team of Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors, would advise that the content of the document is checked by a legal professional to ensure that your wishes can and will be carried out.
In the case of a Living Will, MG Legal would advise that you discuss the matter with your doctor to ensure your wishes can legally be carried out. For example, in a Living Will, you cannot appoint another person to make medical decisions on your behalf, nor can you refuse food or water or basic medical treatment. Basically, you cannot use the Living Will as a way to end your life.
So long as your Living Will is executed and witnessed correctly, then it would usually be a legal document.
How do I appoint someone to make medical decisions on my behalf?
Should you wish to appoint someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf, then you would need to make a Health and Welfare Lasting Power of Attorney, something that MG Legal’s team of Wills and Probate Solicitors would be more than happy to assist with. You can find out more about Lasting Powers of Attorney and the costs involved with making these in our Wills, Trusts and Probate Solicitors in Longridge’s blog.