A living will is different from a traditional will. A living will is actually a directive for your healthcare if end up incapacitated. This can direct the doctors about your wishes if you were in vegetative state or if you had a terminal illness regarding what types of care and intervention you want done. For example, many patients who have a terminal illness have a do not resuscitate order in place, because once they pass away they do not want the doctors and nurses to do CPR or take other measures to bring them back to life.
A living will allows you to make these choices ahead of time. It is important for everyone to have a living will. A living will simply explains what you want done. If you prefer not to be taken off of life support if you are in a vegetative state you can put that in your living will. The living will can help your loved ones know the best course of action should you end up in a serious medical situation. This can take a lot of the guilt away when they are faced with the decision of continuing life support or not.
An additional document you should prepare at the same time is the health care power of attorney. If you create this documents together it can be referred to as the Advance Medical Directive. This person would make medical decisions on your behalf if you end up incapacitated, but not in a vegetative state. This person will direct the doctors in what you want done if you were in a coma such as a medicated coma. Many people in their twenties have their parents act as the medical power of attorney. Once you are married your spouse can do this or if you have a partner that would be a wise choice.
These topics are ones that people do not like to think about or dwell on. It only takes a few minutes to fill out the form once you have made the decision. It will need to be notarized in order to be valid. If you are going in for a major surgery you should include a copy of your living will with your other documents. You should also give a copy to the person who you want to act as health care power of attorney so that he or she can have the documents needed to act in your behalf.
Although this is a difficult subject to contemplate at any age, it can take some of the stress and worry off your loved ones at a very difficult time. You can research the options and choose specific answers depending on the situations involved. You can also change the orders at any time by filling out a new living will. You should talk to your loved ones about your desires as well in order to prepare them to stand behind your choices. Just as you make a plan by having life insurance, and health insurance to cover your healthcare costs, these last few steps can make a difficult situation much easier.