What is a living will?

You are probably well-aware of the importance of estate planning. Dying without a will in place can be extremely messy and lead to years of legal strife or your family and beneficiaries. 
 
However, the parts of estate planning which may apply while you are still legally living are often forgotten. A living will is an example of this kind of document. According to US News & World Report, a living will gives your living family directives if an event like a stroke or dementia incapacitates you. 
 
How can a living will help? 
 
Living wills are beneficial for individuals who feel very strongly about end-of-life care. For example, some people are very adamant that, in the case of incapacitation, their surviving descendants do not “pull the plug” on them. Others feel strongly in the opposite direction. 
 
Having a living will takes this decision out of the hands of your living family and keeps the power in yours. If you have a living will in place, the wishes that you dictate will decide what happens in the event of your incapacitation. 
 
What else about living wills should I know? 
 
Generally speaking, a living will is very affordable. It is possible to file one without the help of a lawyer for around $20. However, working a living will into a comprehensive estate plan also has multiple benefits. 
 
In addition to directives about end-of-life care, you can also note your desires regarding organ or tissue donations. You may also wish to consider the kind of palliative care you would want in the event that your resuscitation is not possible. 

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