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Maryland residents have likely thought about getting a living will done, but it turns out that less than 30 percent of Americans actually have one drawn up. Having a living will done can actually avoid any family arguments after the loved one has become incapacitated. Family members may not know what a person wants regarding personal choices -- including medical decisions. These can be a stressful thing for a family to do in the midst of a loved one becoming unable to make decisions for him or herself, but a living will can greatly reduce tension and give family members a plan of action.

One of the most important things when preparing advance directives is to have any medical choices for different scenarios written down on paper. To have medical choices already planned out, and to avoid family members arguing over this, a living will is one of the papers that will need to be included. A living will lets doctors know what the person wants to happen if they become very ill or unconscious and cannot voice the choice. In addition to the living will, it is a good idea to have a health care power of attorney drafted, appointing someone trustworthy to act if needed. This specific person is the only one who can make sure that doctors respect the individual's wishes in a medical crisis.

When the final wishes regarding an individual's end of life are completed, it is always a good idea to inform family members as well as doctors so that these wishes can come true. It would be beneficial to provide family members with copies of the living will and advance directives to avoid possible confusion later. One of the most important recommended things to do when planning a living will is to get legal help. Having education on the most current laws, as well as making sure proper documents are filed for the living will can make things go smoother.

For many Maryland residents looking into a living will, the thought can be scary and confusing. It does not have to be this way, though. By following a few steps and having proper education on the subject, living will planning can prove to be easier than some people imagine it to be.

Source: Minuteman News Center, Savvy Senior: How to create a living will, No Author, Oct. 30, 2013

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