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What are Living Wills?

A Living Will simply means that you are able to specify exactly what you want to happen should you be taken ill at some point in the future and become unable to make any further decisions regarding important day to day activities, such as paying bills, as a result of the condition.

The information contained in a Living Will is very much dependent on your own particular situation and needs; and therefore varies from person to person.  However, one of the most commonly used clauses states that, should you contract a form of illness which is incurable and where your condition has been forecasted to lead to irreversible physical and mental degeneration, you at that point wish treatment to cease and be withdrawn at the stage where the only purpose is to prolong life, regardless of your condition.  In many instances, families in the throes of grief are unable to decide which is the best course of action, and sometimes choose the option to prolong treatment, regardless of the patient’s wishes.  The Living Will in this instance often guides and reassures families, indicating that you wish to halt treatment.

Many people also use the Living Will document to nominate a person they feel best suited to make decisions on their behalf, should they become incapable of making important decisions themselves.  To make a Living Will, you must be able to prove that you are currently in a state of fit mental capacity, and that your named representative has agreed to take over from you in terms of making medical and financial decisions, if and when you are no longer able – acting as a legal signatory.

As circumstances can change frequently and quickly, it is advisable to ask a professional Will writer to draft a Living Will for you, which should be reviewed regularly and amended if appropriate.

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