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What should you include in a living will?

When you are setting up your estate plan, you can't think about only where your assets will go. You also need to consider what you want in your final days. Some people reach a state of incapacity before they pass away. This makes it impossible for them to make decisions about their care. Instead, they are going to count on loved ones to do this for them. Having a living will in place can make this time easier for your loved ones.

There are several things that you need to consider when you are trying to decide what to put into this document. Your personal preferences are all that matter in this document, so you can set it up exactly how you want.

Can you choose to allow specific life-saving measures?

One of the most significant decisions you need to make is whether you are going to allow resuscitation or not. If you don't want cardiopulmonary resuscitation if your heart stops or you quit breathing, you need to get a do not resuscitate (DNR) order in place. This relays the instructions, but you should remember that emergency responders won't abide by this. If they are called out, they have to take all life-saving measures possible until you reach the hospital.

What life-sustaining measures are necessary?

You also need to think about life-sustaining measures, such as dialysis, breathing tubes, artificial nutrition and hydration. You can put limits on these, so think carefully about what you want. Additionally, make decisions about what type of palliative care you want.

The living will is a written document that you place on file at the medical facilities you are likely to visit. You can also keep a copy of it with you. Making sure that you have it all in order helps you to ensure that you will only have the care you want in your final days and hours.

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Law Offices of Nancy M. Rice
Representing clients in Ocean City and communities throughout New Jersey.


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Phone: 856-673-0048
Fax: 856-673-0052
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Linwood, NJ 08221

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