February 20, 2019
If you find yourself on life support, who will make decisions for you? Unfortunately, it's been estimated that fewer than one in three Americans have what's called a living will or advance health care directive.
But no matter what you call it, it's important because it details how you'd like to be cared for if you wind up on life support. Do you want doctors to do everything they can to keep you alive, even if the outlook is hopeless? Or do you want to give permission to let you go?
Here are some considerations:
Wondering how to write a living will? There are numerous ways, but you should know that state laws change, so you want to be sure your living will fulfills all the regulations it should.
How about just writing your wishes, or even filming them? You could do that, but you're taking a chance. Err on the side of caution to be sure your wishes are admissible in court.
Living wills are typically executed as part of an estate plan, so you would expect to pay for the estate planning package. If you only want a living will, there would be a nominal fee to prepare the document. However, you may want four documents — a living will, a health care proxy, a power of attorney and a will, plus any trusts you wish to set up.
Other topics you may wish to address in a living will:
Where should you put your living will? A copy should be given to your physician as part of your medical records. Handing a copy to the person you've assigned to make your health care decisions sounds wise. Of course, you will want to keep the original at home.
A living will gives invaluable guidance to family members and health care professionals when you can't express your own wishes for end-of-life care. Our office is happy to discuss more on this subject if you are interest. If you do not yet have an attorney we will be happy to introduce you to one who can prepare your documents and assist you further.
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