Medical Directives and Living Wills
As you plan your estate, it is important that you include a living will. This document acts as a medical directive and specifies what types of treatment you do and do not wish to have at the end of your life. Your College Station estate planning attorney will help you set up a living will, but the following is some general information.
What Are Living Wills?
The term “living will” may be misleading for some, in that living wills differ substantially from your last will and testament. The living will, indeed, deals with matters before your death, while a last will specifies how your estate will be divided after you die. Your living will is a medical directive that provides your family with information about your wishes, and can include:
- A Do Not Resuscitate order, which states that, in case you need artificial means to keep yourself alive, such means are to be withheld.
- Specific treatments that you do not want to have administered. For instance, you may state that you do not want a feeding tube.
- Treatments that you would like to have administered.
It should be evident that family members may not be comfortable making decisions such as an order not to resuscitate you without your prior consent. By setting up a living will, you remove a potential burden from family members and prevent possible conflicts among them later.
In your living will, you should appoint a person who can make treatment decisions for you if you become incapacitated or are rendered unable to communicate. This individual is termed a “proxy,” and should be someone you trust implicitly, as well as a disinterested party regarding your estate. If you neither name a proxy nor create a living will, other family members will be consulted in order to make delicate health care decisions.
What Is Necessary to Set Up a Living Will?
Living wills are not only for older individuals. All competent adults should have one in place. After all, one never knows when a serious accident or life-threatening illness may occur. In order to create a living will, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are age 18 or older.
- You are of sound mind.
- You are acting on your own free will.
- The living will is in writing.
- You either have the living will notarized or you have two witnesses to your signing the will.
For Answers to Other Questions or Assistance in Setting up Your Living Will
A living will or medical directive is an essential tool in your estate planning. A College Station estate planning lawyer can work with you to create a living will that reflects your wishes. Call Peterson Law Group to arrange a consultation today at 979-703-7014 or 936-337-4681.
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