5 Reasons You Want a Lawyer for a Living Will
A living will is different than a traditional will. While a traditional will is a document that leaves property to family, a living will outlines the medical care you desire if you become incapacitated. A living will ensures that loved ones will have a say in your medical emergencies unless otherwise stated.
A living will, also known as a health care declaration, often also names a power of attorney to make medical decisions on your behalf. Further, a living will can be combined with a power of attorney document to become an “advanced directive.”
Reasons to Create a Living Will
- Declining health
- Specific person to make health care decisions
- Future surgery or hospitalization
- State your wishes to ensure they are carried out
- Terminal condition diagnosis
A living will can be very specific or vague. Obviously, a living will has better chance of following through on your wishes when it is detailed. Most often, living wills focus on patient values and personal goals.
Living Will Items to Include
- Choose an agent to make health decisions
- Outline life support treatment wishes
- Examine pain management options
- Instruct personal grooming and bathing
- Address patient treatment
- Include religious and spiritual preferences
- Detail funeral plans
What About a Living Trust?
The benefits of a living will are many. A living will avoids much of the problems that can occur with probate, including the expense and time. With a living will, an estate’s assets are protected from being frozen by probate, which allows them to be used for the individual.
Another way that individuals can minimize tax consequences or privacy concerns is to create a living trust.
Living Trust Basics
- Name of the trust maker (also, known as grantor, settler, or trustor)
- Individual trust manager trust (trustee)
- Named trust manager successor (successor trustee)
- List of people to leave property to (beneficiaries)
5 Reasons You Want a Lawyer for a Living Will
A living will lawyer can make a big difference in your situation for a variety of reasons. After all, lawyers deal with legal documents on a daily basis and understand the innerworkings of the law. By working with a lawyer, you avoid a steep learning curve when your time is precious.
Here are 5 reasons you want a lawyer for a living will.
1. Legal Jargon
The healthcare and legal language on living wills are a language all their own. You want to be sure that you understand everything in your living will since it may become an important part of your life. This document will inform your doctors of how you want to be treated if you are unable to speak for yourself. Don’t try to do a living will yourself if you don’t understand what it says.
2. Mental Health
Undoubtedly, mental health becomes an important component in a health crisis. You may be aware of certain factors of your mental health that you need to have health professionals aware of during a crisis. Alongside of the living will, you can draw up a “psychiatric advance directive” or a “mental health care directive” to outline your mental health care and wishes. A document written by a lawyer carries so much more weight that something your wrote yourself.
3. Family Feuds
Family has the power to make a bad situation better or worse. When you know that two prominent and opinionated family members sometimes fight for the sake of fighting each other, then you know you need a legal document that leaves nothing to the imagination. A lawyer ensures that your wishes are clear and legally binding, which cuts out some of the chance for family fighting. Protect yourself and your family.
4. Frequent Travel
When you are not often in your home state, whether traveling nationally or internationally, you need to be sure that your living will is valid wherever you may spend time. All states and countries do not respond the same way to living wills. A lawyer can create a living will that will work for the places you spend a majority of your time so that you receive the healthcare you need during a crisis or incapacitation.
5. Estate Planning Documents
A living will is only one of many vital estate planning documents that you should have. Each document plays a different role in protecting your assets and outlining how you want your possessions to be handled after your death. When you take steps to prepare a living will, you should also consider other estate planning documents such as a will, living trust, and others.
A lawyer makes sure that your desires are captured in a legally binding document so that you transfer control of your health and assets as you planned. Don’t leave your future to chance. Consult a lawyer today.