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Living wills help plan end-of-life care

Most people don't die in their homes. That's according to federal statistics that show only 25 percent of people die at home. Because so few people die at home, it is important that health care facilities and family members understand how a person would like the end-of-life care handled. While it is often a topic that few people want to discuss, the statistics show that it is necessary.

Having a living will can help a person affirm their wishes for the end of their life. A living will and other planning documents can help set up who can make healthcare decisions for a person if they aren't able to themselves. It can also instruct doctors not to apply life-saving measures in the event that someone's heart stops or they stop breathing. Many people also choose to include whether or not they would want to be connected to a ventilator or feeding tube.

Everyone hopes that these things don't have to be used, but when you look at statistics, it shows that some of them might be necessary. While family members might be authorized by hospitals to make some of these decisions, these documents help communicate a person's exact wishes.

Speaking with an estate planning attorney might be a wise decision if someone doesn't have a living will. They can help establish this and other important documents to make sure a person's final wishes are honored. Being prepared can help family members be reassured about their decisions.

Source: Buffalo News, "Getting a final health care plan down on paper," Henry L. Davis, July 24, 2012

-Our estate planning law firm handles living wills. To learn more about important estate planning documents, please visit our website.

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