Some people remain mentally sharp to the end of their days, but there are no guarantees. You can plan for the possibility of incompetence by writing a living will, which is a legal document that describes the types of medical treatment you want or do not want in the future. It becomes effective if you become mentally incapacitated.
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Advance Health Care Directives
A living will is a type of advance health care directive that allows you, while competent, to make decisions to control future medical care should you become incompetent. You can include your preferences about end-of-life treatment, such as whether you want your life to be prolonged if you have an irreversible condition certain to result in death.
Drafting a Living Will
Many states offer living will forms that fulfill all of that jurisdiction's legal requirements. You can obtain the appropriate form from the court system, your attorney or an online legal services provider. Be sure that the form you use follows the laws of your state because witnessing requirements can differ. Sometimes, the living will form is combined with a durable power of attorney form that lets you appoint a trusted person to manage your health care if you are incompetent. Your health care agent is obligated to follow your living will directives.