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Decisions about your health care

A living will is just as important as a will. New Leaf Legacy will help you navigate your options for naming who will make important decisions about your health care when you cannot.

Without a living will, decisions about your healthcare, should you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions, will be left to friends and family who may disagree on appropriate care.

Several things everyone should know about living wills.

1. A living will is a legal document. A living will is a binding document that sets out your wishes for health care in the event you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill, and can no longer make decisions about your own healthcare. The living will only comes into play if you are not able to convey your wishes due to your state of health.

2. Doctors must determine whether you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious. Two doctors who have examined you, including the attending physician and one other physician, must agree that you have a terminal illness or are permanently unconscious before a living becomes effective. If you are conscious and able to make decisions and sign medical consent forms on your own, a living will is unnecessary and has no effect.

3. A living will can be modified and revoked. A living will can be voided or changed by you at anytime. It cannot, be revoked, modified or changed by anyone else. Experts encourage people with a living will to review and update it to reflect improvements in medical technology and changes in your health, finances or philosophies about end-of-life care.

4. People under 65 should have a living will. The older one gets, the more they start to think about their health and how they want to treat potential healthcare emergencies. When younger, however, health is often the furthest thing from one’s mind. Still, it’s important to remember that accidents happen – indeed, traffic accidents are still a leading cause of disability among young Ohioans. A living will can give you and your family peace of mind – you know your healthcare wishes will be carried out and your family will know they won’t have to fight with anyone over how those wishes should be carried out.

5. A living will is not just for “pulling the plug.” Although a living will can be used to avoid being kept alive, it is also useful in making sure you receive the medical treatment you want for purposes of recovery, or alternatively, to promote pain control, comfort care and end-of-life dignity. It can also be used to indicate you want treatment to continue and that physicians should use every means possible to keep you alive.

Suzy is very friendly, polite and easy to communicate with. Being knowledgeable and up-to-date with Estate Law, she is very adroit in combining the law with her client’s wishes. The result is a well-thought-out and understandable Will or Estate Plan. The result is the client’s piece of mind, knowing that “all is well.

M.

Suzy guided me through the many elements of my Estate Plan with compassion for my needs when there were difficulties. I would recommend Suzy with no hesitation.

V.