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How a Living Will Works and Why You Need One

Older couple discussing how a living will works and signing documents.

This guide will explain how a living will works and why everyone should consider create one. A living will is part of a comprehensive estate plan. It’s often confused with other documents (like living trusts and wills). Keep reading and we’ll try to clear up your confusion.

What Is a Living Will vs. a Living Trust vs. a Will?

A living will is different to a living trust and a will. A living will focuses solely on a person’s medical care and treatment at the end of their life. In comparison, a living trust is an estate planning tool that allows a person to transfer assets to their heirs without going through probate. Whereas, a will (also known as a Last Will and Testament) directs how assets should be dispersed upon their death and also names guardians for minor children.

How a Living Will Works.

A living will is a document that outlines the types of medical treatments that you would like to receive, should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. This document allows you to state your wishes regarding the types of medical treatments and lifesaving measures that you want or do not want to receive.

The Benefits of Having a Living Will in Place.

A living will can provide peace of mind, knowing that if something were to happen to you and you are unable to make your own decisions, your wishes are outlined in writing. This document can save your family members from the difficult decision-making process, as it clearly states what medical treatments or measures you do and do not want to receive. Having a living will also helps ensure that your medical care follows your values, beliefs and preferences.

Understand What a Living Will Is and What It Does.

A Living Will, also known as an advance directive, is a legal document that outlines an individual’s wishes regarding medical treatment and end-of-life care.

In a Living Will, a person can specify what medical treatments they want or do not want if they become unable to communicate their wishes due to a serious illness or injury. This can include decisions about life-sustaining treatments such as ventilators, feeding tubes, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Living Wills can also include instructions about pain management and other forms of medical care that an individual may or may not want to receive.

The purpose of a Living Will is to ensure that an individual’s wishes are respected and followed in the event they are unable to make their own medical decisions. It can also relieve family members or loved ones of the burden of having to make difficult medical decisions on behalf of the individual.

A Living Will is Part of a Comprehensive Estate Plan.

A Living Will is an important component of a comprehensive estate plan, which is a set of legal documents that outline an individual’s wishes for their assets and personal affairs after they pass away or become incapacitated.

One of the primary purposes of an estate plan is to ensure that an individual’s wishes are carried out even if they are unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves. A Living Will helps to accomplish this goal by providing clear instructions about end-of-life medical care.

In addition to a Living Will, a comprehensive estate plan may also include a Last Will and Testament, which outlines how an individual’s assets should be distributed after their death. This can include instructions about the distribution of property, the care of minor children, and the appointment of an executor to manage the estate.

Other documents that may be part of an estate plan include power of attorney documents. A durable power of attorney, which allows an appointed individual to make financial and legal decisions on behalf of the incapacitated person. A healthcare power of attorney, which designates someone to make medical decisions if the individual is unable to do so.

By including a Living Will as part of their estate plan, individuals can ensure that their wishes for end-of-life medical care are respected and that their loved ones are not burdened with difficult decisions. It is important to consult with a qualified attorney to create a comprehensive estate plan that meets an individual’s specific needs and goals.

Call Us To Discuss How a Living Will Works And Whether You Should Get One.

We’ve been helping people create comprehensive estate plans to protect themselves and their loved ones since 2001. If you have a question about how a living will works and whether you need one, give us a call at 602-443-4888. We’re here to help.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Founding attorney Paul Deloughery has been an attorney since 1998, became a Certified Family Wealth Advisor. He is also the founder of Sudden Wealth Protection Law.

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