One common question asked is, what is a living will and do I need one? A Living Will is an important part of every estate plan, and is often referred to as a “healthcare directive.” A Living Will speaks your end of life choices should you be in a terminal condition, an irreversible coma or a persistent vegetative state. The Living Will describes your end of life choices about whether you would like to be kept alive forever through artificial means (i.e. cardiopulmonary resuscitation and artificial flood/fluids); or rather you desire to be kept pain free with no artificial means sustaining your life.
Who should have a Living Will? Anyone over the age of 18 years of age should have a Living Will. By completing a Living Will, an expensive, time consuming and complicated court action could ensue with family members in disagreement on what they think you want. It’s important to detail your wishes now regarding end of life to avoid possible future problems at the time when you are unable to communicate with anyone.
It’s critical that the Living Will and other estate planning documents, such as a Will or Revocable Living Trust, are periodically reviewed by an estate planning attorney to ensure they are consistent with law changes, and also personal changes. To ensure your end of life choices will be carried out as you wish with no unnecessary delay or questioning from the medical profession, your Living Will should be updated every 5 years (sooner if your choices change or laws change). Please contact one of our experienced estate planning attorneys for a full comprehensive review of your entire estate plan.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.