Peace of mind in a document: Unleash the potential of living wills for a dignified and empowered future!

Living wills empower individuals to make medical decisions if incapacitated, relieving families of difficult choices. They also help gain control over end-of-life care.

How living wills ease emotional burden on families
  • Living wills provide individuals with the power to make medical decisions when they are unable to do so themselves.
  • These legal documents ensure that individuals' medical preferences are followed in extreme cases.
  • They also alleviate the emotional burden on family members by relieving them of the responsibility of making difficult medical choices.

A will helps you allocate your assets amongst your loved ones after your demise. It is a common concept that many individuals are familiar with. However, living wills are a relatively unfamiliar concept. These wills are medical directives that help you choose the type of medical treatments if you are indisposed. 

Also Read: 8 scenarios that may necessitate a will revision

What is a living will?

Living wills are legal documents which give medical directions to be followed if the individual becomes incapacitated to do so themselves. They are also called advance medical directives.

Benefits of a living will

A living will gives individuals complete control over their medical care in extreme circumstances. If an individual is incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes, their living will directs their wishes. 

In addition, the will eases the emotional burden on family members when faced with challenging medical decisions.

Living wills in India 

  • In a 2018 judgement, the Supreme Court recognised that individuals have the ‘right to die with dignity’. This right was the added to ‘Right to Life’ under Article 21.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that individuals can make informed decisions about choosing medical treatments and life support systems.

Also Read: These 6 things must be in your will!

Guidelines to draft a living will

When you write a will, the following points should be kept in mind:

  • The will must be signed by two living witnesses.
  • It should be attested by a gazetted officer or a notary.
  • The will should specify the name of the guardian/relative entrusted with making medical decisions in case the maker of the will is incapacitated.
  • The hospital treating the patient should establish a medical board comprising three doctors, two of whom must be subject experts with at least five years of experience.
  • One primary and secondary medical board should be constituted within the same hospital.
  • Upon referral to the medical boards, they should provide their opinion within 48 hours, allowing the directives of the living will to be implemented.
  • If there are differences in opinions or if the boards refuse to grant permission, the relative or guardian can approach the High Court to request a new medical board.

The bottom line

A living will is a progressive step towards a dignified death and helps you and your family take otherwise hard decisions when it comes to medical care. It is a sensitive document and needs proper understanding before you draft it. So, take the help of a professional or an expert if you want to write a will. 

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