A “Living Will” is a document that allows you to legally set forth your health care wishes. In a comprehensive estate plan it is commonly included as a part of an “Advance Health Care Directive”. With that said, it can also be a stand alone document. The terms are often used interchangeably, along with “Power of Attorney for Health Care”.
Regardless of the documents name it is important that you make your health care wishes known.
When you execute an Advance Health Care Directive or a Living Will you set forth your healthcare instructions and wishes. You will nominate an individual (“Agent”) to carry out such instructions/wishes.
Most people prefer not to think about a Living Will because it forces them to think about falling sick or dying. But, as we all know, life is uncertain and unpredictable. All of us, at any time, could find ourselves sick, injured, on life-support, in a coma, in the final stages of dementia, or near the end of life. Without a Living Will in place and the nomination of a Health Care Agent to carry out our wishes, you risk putting your healthcare decisions in the hands of strangers.
What is included in a Living Will?
When preparing a Living Will, there are many issues you will need to address:
- Do you want your life to be prolonged in the event of an incurable illness likely to result in death within a short time?
- Would you rather your life not be prolonged in such an event?
- Do you want pain relief?
- Do you want to live in the comfort of your own home?
- Do you want to donate organs, be cremated or buried, etc.?
Who should you choose as your Agent in your Living Will?
- Who do you trust to make such personal, health care decisions?
- Who do you know that has the appropriate skill set to be able to communicate with your health care providers and doctors?
- Who has the emotional stability to advocate your wishes in what may be an emotional and stressful situation?
These are all things you should discuss with your family, doctor, and a Carlsbad probate attorney.
Why hire an Estate Planning Attorney to create a Living Will?
According to a survey published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, only a quarter of Americans have Living Wills in place.
Although creating a Living Will may seem to be simple, oversights are frequent. An attorney who focuses on estate planning can help you create an effective Living Will according to state laws. Contact a probate and estate planning attorney to discuss your concerns and learn how they can help address your Living Will concerns.
About the Author:
The author is a reputed estate planning attorney in Carlsbad CA. He helps clients in estate planning to avoid probate, unnecessary taxes, and legal fees. Visit https://www.rassmanlaw.com/ for more details.