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What should you include in a living will?

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2022 | Estate Planning

A living will outlines your wishes when it comes to medical care when you cannot make decisions on your own. This document is crucial for people who are terminally ill or suffering from a medical condition that affects cognition, such as dementia.

All adults should have a living will in place in case the unthinkable happens. You must also include certain items in your living will to ensure it meets your needs.


Infection risk can become higher in end-of-life scenarios. In this case, a doctor may use antibiotics or antiviral medications to stem the infection unless otherwise instructed by a living will.

Mechanical ventilation

If you cannot breathe on your own, a mechanical ventilator can do so for you. You may choose to forgo mechanical ventilation altogether in your living wills. Alternatively, you can specify a certain period of time you wish to be on a ventilator or certain circumstances when it is acceptable. The more details you provide, the better.


In the event a person’s heart stops, doctors can use CPR to get it beating again. Medical staff can also use a defibrillator, which is a device that sends an electrical current to the heart to restart it. Your living will should contain instructions on both procedures.

Palliative care

Palliative care includes medical treatments that can make you more comfortable without actually preserving your life. For instance, you can specify that you would rather remain at home than at a hospital when your condition is terminal.

In addition to creating a living will, you should also consider naming a medical power of attorney. A power of attorney allows another person to make medical decisions on your behalf. This person ensures that medical professionals and your loved ones are fully aware of your wishes.