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Take control with a Living WillThis recently appeared in a pub toilet in Michigan, USA. One of the bar’s patrons had the questionable and frankly criminal idea of snapping a photo in the toilets, and it’s been doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter ever since.

So this is a twist on an actual legal document called a Living Will – a statement recording how you want to be treated in the future should you become unable to speak for yourself (either through injury or illness).

With a Living Will you get to state your wishes in relation to the kind of medical treatment you might or might not wish to receive in the future. Although the photo above makes reference to it, a Living Will has nothing to do with euthanasia or assisted suicide – it’s simply a document giving directions about certain medical treatments available to you at a future point.

It’s not exactly pleasant, but imagine you’re in hospital with a debilitating illness and you lack capacity to issue your instructions (maybe through dementia or Alzheimer’s). Without a Living Will, your doctor – acting in the best interests of the patient – administers you with medical treatment which prolongs your life but results in a quality of life you find unacceptable.

You’re left in a state of being which would not have been your choosing.

However, if you’ve had the sense to create a Living Will, and this is shown to your medical professionals, your wishes and attitude to ill health and disabilities can be taken into consideration along with your medical notes.

We’re seeing a sharp increase in the number of clients asking us to create Living Wills – in part, due to the British Medical Association’s recommendations, and in part due to the realisation that doing so can save a great deal of unnecessary suffering and reduce the burden on families during some very tough and trying times. 

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