Before preplanning cremation services in Skaneateles, NY, you should prepare for end of life care. End of life care is important because it lets your loved ones know what your medical wishes are and because it gives you an opportunity to designate medical surrogates who can make medical decisions in line with your wishes if you are not able to make them yourself.
An advance directive covers end of life care. Included in your advance directive should be a medical power of attorney and a living will. Both of these are legal documents (only a date and your signature are required to make them legally binding).
Your living will expresses your wishes when you are in a life-threatening condition. While the purpose of a living will is straightforward (either all possible medical interventions are performed or no medical interventions are performed, but comfort care is provided), there are some things you should know about living wills.
The first thing you need to know about living wills is that they vary from state to state. Therefore, you need to create a living will based on the rules in New York (and, if you split your time between New York and another state, you need to make sure your living will is valid in the second state too).
You must have a living will to ensure that your medical wishes will be followed. Telling someone else what you want done when your life is in jeopardy is not legally binding, and medical personnel will do everything possible to keep you alive, no matter what state mentally or physically that leaves you in.
Your medical power of attorney can’t invoke your wishes in your living will without a doctor’s determination that you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself. The most common reasons why you would be unable to make medical decisions for yourself are dementia (any type or mixed) or unresponsiveness (unconsciousness or coma).
Another important thing to know about your living will is that it can be changed if you change your mind about what kind of treatment you want in a life-ending situation. For example, you may create a living will in your 30’s or 40’s and decide that you want every medical intervention possible to keep you alive. However, when you get into your late senior years, you may decide that you don’t want any medical interventions to prolong your life, but that you do want comfort care at the end of your life.
Everyone should have a living will. When you’re younger, you may think you’ve got a long life ahead of you, but time and chance happens to everyone. If you have a living will, then you have the peace of mind that your medical wishes are known if anything happens where your life hangs in the balance.
Your living will is about more than just accepting or denying life-extending medical procedures. If there are specific care regimens you want followed (for example, comfort care or certain procedures), you can use your living will to specify those.
It’s important for you to know that your family and your doctor have a legal obligation to follow the wishes you have laid out in your living will. However, you should discuss your living will with your primary care physician so that they are aware of what you want.