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Living wills and directives can give family peace of mind

It’s understandable that people might want to put off writing their wills or drafting an advanced directive. The idea of being put in the position of having someone else make your medical decisions can be scary. It can also be uncomfortable to think about leaving your loved ones with the burden and heartbreak of dealing with your affairs, so it’s easier to say you’ll do it later. But it’s important for Florida residents, especially those nearing retirement age, to create their living wills in order to make a difficult medical situation easier for loved ones.

Creating an advanced directive is free and easy to do. It gives family members a plan to follow in case you’re unable to make your medical decisions yourself. Giving the power of attorney names a person you trust to make decisions on your behalf, while a living will tells your family and caregivers what kind of treatments you’ll authorize, and which ones you don’t want to have implemented--such as artificial life support. It’s important for doctors to have these documents, while also making it easier and less confusing for loved ones.

Medical experts say patients of all ages should plan ahead and put their healthcare wishes in writing, so their loved ones aren’t burdened with difficult decisions. Although living wills can be documented at any time, it might be a good idea to speak with your estate planning attorney and have a living will or advanced directive drawn up at the same time you’re updating your estate planning. All of these documents will help to give you and your family members peace of mind.

Source: UPI.com, “Patients advised: Express treatment wishes in advance,” April 28, 2013

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