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Entrepreneur

The Case for a Living Will

By Tom Irmen

Every year at my annual physical, without fail, my healthcare provider asks me if I have prepared or amended my living will. Contemplating our own mortality often makes us feel uncomfortable, but as I get older, I have come to appreciate that a living will may become the greatest gift you or I can leave our loved ones. And no, a living will it’s not something that just the elderly should consider. Regardless of our age, each of us is only one unforeseen accident away from benefiting from this simple yet all important document.

A living will is a written directive to your family, personal physician, and other healthcare providers about just what type and level of care you would wish to receive in the event that you were unable to make important personal medical decisions on your own in the event of a medical emergency. Your living will can be of great comfort to your loved ones who might be called on to act on your behalf in the absence of this document. Let’s be honest, not everyone knows what decisions you might make on your own, and two or more individuals that might be asked about your treatment options might not be able to agree on what course of action might be best for you.

When these decisions are left to others, you potentially place family members in the very difficult position of having to guess as to what care you might have elected to receive. Disagreements among family members can occur, resulting in strained or even broken relationships that may last for years or longer. And consider as well that these decisions can have long-term financial consequences for your family members as well.

A living will removes this burden from your family members to act on your behalf and asks only that they respect the choices you have made. This simple but important document may be the greatest gift you can give to your loved ones who might one day be forced to struggle with making medical decisions on your behalf in the absence of a living will.

Everyone of every age can benefit from the creation of a living will. No one is immune from a health crisis. And if you are self-employed, a living will is just one of several important documents necessary to assure the future success of the small business that you have devoted your life to, protecting it for your heirs. Our families deserve the peace of mind that can come from the creation of a living will.

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