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Should You Use a Living Will To Spell Out Your Health-Care Wishes in Case You Become Incapacitated?

The purpose of a living will is to make known your wishes as to heroic measures to save your life and whether you wish to be on life support systems if necessary.

The purpose of a living will is to make known your wishes as to issues such as (1) whether you want to be sustained on mechanical life support at the end of your life and (2) whether you want "extraordinary" means used to prolong your life in various medical circumstances. Another health-care related document, the health-care proxy or health care power of attorney, names someone as agent to carry out these wishes if you are incapacitated. Attorneys often prepare these forms when they prepare a will for a client.

Although you do not need an attorney to prepare the forms, it is a good idea to consult with both your physician and an attorney in preparing the forms. Your doctor can help to ensure that you have covered all the medical contingencies you want to cover, and the attorney can ensure that there are no inconsistencies between your health-care documents and the rest of your estate plan.