Aging with a Plan

Why You Need a Living Will

Every day we make choices. Some are big, others are small. We make quick, unconscious decisions when something has become a routine or not as important. But when it comes to your final wishes, your needs carry more weight, which is why planning ahead never hurts. Here’s why a living will is important and things to keep in mind when creating one yourself.

To start, a living will is a legal document which states your medical preferences at the end of your life. It is especially important to create one sooner rather than later so that you can communicate your specific desires. This eliminates the chances that your family members will be confused about the level of medical care you prefer. With that being said, if you clearly state the procedures you want and don’t want, it can prevent arguments among family members and give medical providers a greater sense of clarity. It is more beneficial to do so before an illness occurs when you are unable to make that decision for yourself.

Another aspect of a Living Will is the Power of Attorney, or POA. When appointing a POA on a separate document, you are giving someone else the ability to legally make medical decisions on your behalf. This gives you peace of mind that the Living Will will be followed. Keep in mind that there are different types. For instance, Durable Power of Attorney, or DPOA, ensures that another individual is given control of your financial and medical affairs even after you become incapacitated. A general Power of Attorney, on the other hand, has these responsibilities up until this point. For this reason, it is important that your wants and needs are distinctly laid out so that this individual does not need permission to make these decisions. For more information about the specific types, visit this link.

Once again, the Living Will is created as a precaution since life comes with unexpected obstacles that we will face as older adults. But having one reassures us that we are well cared for.


submitted: Grace Meyer, Marketing & Communications Summer Intern 2022