Components and Purpose of a Living Will

You know that preparation for the unexpected can help you and your loved ones have peace of mind. Still, it’s easy to forget about some essential steps. Your health and health of your finances are critical. What will happen if you are in no position to make these types of decisions? This is where a living willing comes into play. Everyone should draft this legal document. If you have not done so or do not understand what it entails, learn about it today.

An Overview

Many people confuse a living will with a will. The latter details your wishes upon your death—what will happen to your property, possessions and financial accounts. A living will gives directions on how you want loved ones and health care providers to meet your needs if you become incapacitated. If disease, an accident or the ravages of age render you unable to make decisions, a living will designates who can handle these matters.

Key Elements

You probably don’t want to consider the possibility, but there may be a time when you are on life support. If machinery and other medical interventions are keeping you alive, how long would you want this to continue? A living will spells out your wishes in this scenario. In the living will, you can declare whether you would like to remain on life support or have a doctor remove you from it so you can pass away peacefully. Or, you can list the conditions under which you would like to remain alive. You will want to designate a loved on that you trust to carry out your wishes (known as your proxy).

When To Do It

Don’t wait until you are in your twilight years to create a living will. This isn’t a document solely for older people. You don’t know when or how you will die, so it’s best to write your living will as soon as possible.

How To Start

Because this is a legally binding document, make sure you consult an attorney before drafting your living will. An experienced estate planning lawyer, has the knowledge and training to walk you through the process. Your lawyer will ensure that you effectively convey your wishes.

What To Do With It

Keep your living will in a safe place at home. Make a few copies of it, giving one to your primary care physician, one to your attorney and one to your proxy.

Don’t put off writing your living will any longer. This document can ensure that your needs are met when you can’t make decisions on your own.