What Is a Living Will and Why Do You Need One?

October 30th, 2022

You may have heard the term “living will” before, but do you actually know what a living will is? A living will is a legal document outlining the medical steps you do or do not want to be performed if you are critically ill or injured. These preferences determine the procedures that can be used to prolong your life or treat pain. Living wills provide you with peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be taken into account in situations where you may be otherwise incapacitated.

What Does a Living Will Cover?

Living wills cover any number of medical procedures that may be used to extend a life or manage pain and discomfort. These decisions can include, but are not limited to:

  • Tube-Feeding: covers nutrient supply to the body and intravenous fluids.
  • Ventilation Techniques: addresses mechanical forms of ventilation if you are unable to breathe.
  • Resuscitation: covers CPR techniques when your heart has stopped beating.
  • Pain Management: includes any type of care that manages pain or avoids treatments that may cause additional pain.
  • Infection Treatments: addresses whether or not you want infections to be treated.
  • Organ Donation: whether or not your organs are donated following your passing.

Is End of Life Planning Important?

End of life planning is critical for anyone that wants their wishes to be followed during a life-threatening event. It provides doctors and other health providers a directive that must be legally followed regarding your care. This is especially true in situations where you are no longer able to communicate what medical services or treatments you do or do not want. 

What Should Be Included in Your Living Will?

The legal framework regarding living wills differs state to state, but typically living wills can cover a wide range of directives. You may want to forgo certain procedures in the event that they may have little effect on extending your life. You can also outline whether you want to die at home or a medical facility or if you want treatment for pain in the event of a serious accident. Additionally, any religious or spiritual directives you may want at the end of your life.

What Is Power of Attorney?

Power of attorney allows you to designate a trusted friend or relative with authority over the decisions regarding your medical care. In some areas of the country, power of attorney can also be called a health care proxy or patient advocate. Who you choose to be power of attorney is very important, as they will have the ability to make critical decisions about your medical treatments. It requires astute judgment and is normally entrusted to someone you know will make sure your wishes are fulfilled.

McCafferty Funeral Home: Providing Professional Funeral Services In Philadelphia

McCafferty Funeral Home is a leading provider of funeral services for Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. We offer professional burial services and cremation services at an affordable cost. Contact us today to learn more about end of life planning and the steps you can take to set-up your funeral plans.


For more information about planning a burial or to schedule a consultation, please call 215-531-5014.

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