Is your estate plan missing this important document?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Firm News

Imagine this scenario: You suddenly find yourself hospitalized, unable to communicate your health care wishes. Your family, overwhelmed and uncertain, now faces the responsibility of making difficult decisions about your care. Although unsettling, this scenario highlights the importance of having plans in place for your health.

As you plan for your future, you are likely familiar with key estate planning tools like wills, trusts and powers of attorney. However, there is another crucial document you may have overlooked: the living will.

What is a living will?

The living will is a crucial part of your advance health care directives, enabling you to communicate your health care preferences with your medical team, even when you cannot voice them. Unlike a regular will that deals with your assets after death, a living will focuses on your medical care while you are still alive but incapacitated.

This document typically covers decisions about life-sustaining treatments, pain management and end-of-life care. It is your voice when you cannot speak for yourself, sparing your loved ones from the burden of making tough decisions for your well-being.

Why a living will matters

Including a living will in your estate plan offers several significant benefits:

  • Control over your care: A living will enables you to maintain a say in your medical treatment, even if you are unconscious or severely ill. This ensures that your medical team knows exactly which treatments you do and do not want, allowing them to provide the right care for you.
  • Provide clarity in uncertain times: Having a living will in place provides a clear roadmap for your loved ones to follow, giving them the confidence to make difficult decisions on your behalf. This clarity can also help reduce legal complications for your healthcare providers, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
  • Avoid unnecessary suffering: By outlining your wishes, you can prevent medical interventions that may prolong your suffering or compromise your quality of life, and instead focus on care that prioritizes your comfort and dignity.

By creating a living will, you are not only planning for your future but also showing care and consideration for your loved ones during potentially challenging times.

This legal document is a powerful way to communicate your values, beliefs and wishes to those who care about you most. By including a living will in your estate plan, you can take control of your medical care, reduce the burden on your loved ones and ensure your dignity and autonomy remain respected when the time comes.