What Is the Purpose of a Living Will?

When it comes to sitting down and creating a plan for your estate, you may believe its sole purpose is to care for your family after death. However, there are also tools an estate lawyer, like from the Yee Law Group, suggests putting in place to protect you in the later, more vulnerable stages of life.

Part of a full estate plan is choosing the people you want to make difficult decisions for you. These people should be those who you believe will follow your written directives no matter how difficult that might wind up being. Discover the importance of a living will so you can start thinking about who and what you want to be done in an unthinkable situation.

The Role of a Living Will

A living will allows you to take control of how you want to deal with difficult medical decisions. It triggers when you become incapacitated or deemed unable to make decisions mentally. A living will contains several parts, but generally addresses things such as:

  • Life-saving measures you want to be taken
  • The discontinuation of life-saving measures
  • Whether you want your organs donated

A living will is also called an advanced directive. It also sets out the person you designate to make the final call concerning your treatment. While the hospital may get your living will from a representative, they still will want a person to sign off, especially when it comes to terminating life support.

Choosing the Right Representative

You may be conflicted as to who should represent you when making final medical decisions. This is not necessarily an easy decision, but failing to make it may mean that someone you do not want in charge will be legally appointed. If you are married, your spouse automatically becomes the decision-maker if you do not appoint someone else. If you believe your spouse will be unable to follow your wishes, choose someone who can. Perhaps an adult child, a sibling or a close friend may be better choices. Your attorney will probably also advise you to alert your designated representative so they will not be surprised if they are ever called upon to act in this way.

Remember, a living will is an estate planning document that protects your interests and wishes when you cannot speak for yourself. Your end of life care is something that an estate planning lawyer can help you plan for well in advance. Contact an attorney when you are ready to take care of this and other estate documents.