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FAQs about living wills

Living wills are part of a well balanced estate plan. Those who are considering including these documents within their estate plan often have many questions. Some of the more common are listed below.

What exactly is a living will? A living will is a document that outlines the types of care a patient would like to receive in the event that the creator cannot communicate this information to his or her health care provider.

These documents can span from including every possible intervention be taken to preserve life to directions to avoid any form of medical intervention. Living wills can also discuss specific procedures, such as whether or not the creator would like to receive a feeding tube or life support as well as the extent of pain management that would be desired.

Why should I have a living will? A recent publication by Wealth Management discussed this issue, noting there are many benefits to the use of a living will. Some examples in the piece include:

  • Allowing the creator to remain in control of his or her care, even when unable to communicate.
  • Encouraging the creator to have conversations with family members and loved ones about his or her wishes, reducing the risk of confusion and frustration in the event that the creator becomes incapacitated.
  • Reducing the risk of potential legal costs to the estate.

If the creator does not make his or her wishes known, loved ones may disagree about what the best health care options may be. These disagreements could result in legal battles, potentially depleting the assets of the estate. This risk can be reduced by putting together a living will and sharing this document with loved ones.

How do I put together a living will? Due to the delicate nature of these documents, it is often wise to seek the legal counsel of an experienced living will attorney. This legal professional will guide you through the process, working to better ensure the document meets your wishes.

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