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Thinking about one's own mortality can be daunting. Too many individuals put off making a will because of what that document represents. This is especially true for a living will or health care proxy. Some Maryland residents may find it difficult to discuss how their belongings will be distributed after their deaths. However, many more may find it nearly impossible to consider what medical treatments they do or don't want to receive, especially if that decision could literally mean the difference between life and death.

Many individuals fear that if they have a living will that prevents them from receiving a certain kind of medical treatment that they won't receive treatment at all. Others might wonder what would happen if they changed their minds later in life about what types of care they would be willing to receive. Some individuals may find it helpful to remember that in some non-life-threatening cases the contents of a living will may be reinterpreted.

Naming a health-care power of attorney may also seem like a difficult task for some people. However, choosing a proxy can help to limit the amount of friction between family and friends. It is much more difficult for a group of people to come to a unanimous decision concerning the treatment for a loved one than it is for a single person to make an executive decision with the best wishes of the patient in mind. One might even include a specific list of approved or disapproved treatments and wishes to be carried out by the proxy to limit confusion or strife within a group of loved ones.

A living will does not need to be a source of stress and worry. Maryland residents who are considering having a new will written or having an existing one changed may find it beneficial to consult with a professional. Consulting with an attorney can help individuals to express to well-meaning family and friends how they want medical treatment to be handled instead of allowing their loved ones to question and argue over each decision.

Source: dailyherald.com, "Even healthy people need a living will", Michelle Andrews, Sept. 23, 2017

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