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The Importance of Maintaining a Living Will

Living wills, also known as advance directives, should be an important part of every individual's plan for the future. Still, in states like New Jersey, such documents are rare indeed. In fact, a mere 29 percent of Americans have taken the time to set up a living will.

Taking the time to set up a living will can save your loved ones from having to make impossible decisions should something happen to you.

It can be hard to plan for such situations and, to be sure, no one likes to think about whether or not to hang on or let go. Still, if anyone makes such a decision, it should be you.

A living will really only comes into play if you are involved in a serious accident or become afflicted with a serious illness. An advance directive will guides doctors and other healthcare providers, relieving family members from trying to decide what you would have wanted.

It is also possible to designate a health care power of attorney in your living will. In this case, an individual, selected by you, is empowered to make healthcare decisions for you should you be unable to make them for yourself.

Would you want doctors to fight to keep you alive until the very end? Would you prefer to pass away in comfort and on your own terms? These are the types of issues that are addressed in living wills.

Finally, it is important that you discuss any advance directives with your loved ones. While setting up a living will saves them from having to make hard decisions, it is still good for them to know and understand your decisions.

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