Estate Planning Lawyer
There are many components to a good estate plan. One document that every plan should include is a living will. The following is a brief overview of what a living will is and what the benefits of having one are from an estate planning lawyer from Silverman Law Office, PLLC.
Unlike a last will and testament, which addresses what should be done with an individual’s assets and property when they die, a living will is a document that details what your wishes are concerning any medical procedures you agree to in the event you suffer a medical event that leaves you in critical condition and unable to articulate those wishes. A living will is also sometimes referred to as an advanced directive.
A living will can specify what types of extraordinary treatment measures – if any – you would agree to in order to sustain your life if there is no chance for recovery. An individual may include in their living will that they consent to palliative care (care which will alleviate pain and suffering) but they do not consent to extraordinary measures (i.e. respirator or CPR) under certain medical circumstances.
Since each state has its own statutes regarding living wills and other estate planning issues, it is in your best interest to retain the services of an estate planning lawyer to assist in drafting this document in order to guarantee it meets all legal criteria according to the law in order to ensure its validity.
A living will takes effect when it is determined that the individual no longer has the ability to communicate with their medical care team what their treatment wishes are, although physicians do prefer to base medical treatment on personal communication with their patients as long as physically possible for the patient.
It is also important for people to realize they can revoke or change their living will at any time. If you change your mind about what you do or don’t want should you become incapacitated, you can change your living will.
When your estate planning lawyer drafts your living will, they can also draft a durable power of attorney (DPOA). A DPOA names the person you want to carry out the end-of-life treatment that you have expressed in your living will.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
No one wants to think about the day that will inevitably come for all of us when we are no longer here for our families, but by not planning ahead, there is a large risk that our wishes will not be honored if those wishes are not legally written down somewhere. By having your wishes legally documented, you also take the burden off of loved ones in making these critical decisions on whether you would or would not want extraordinary measures. While you are not legally required to retain an estate planning lawyer to draft these documents, there is a great risk your wishes could be challenged if the documents you draft do not adhere to the requirements of the state you live in requires. Working with an estate planning lawyer greatly reduces those risks.