A Closer Look at Living Wills
A living will is one type of advance directive that makes up part of a complete estate plan. With this document, a client can decide ahead of time what kind of lifesaving treatment he or she wants in the event of incapacity.
Many clients are grateful for the control that a living will provides them, as well as peace of mind. They know that, even if they have lost consciousness, they will stay in the driver’s seat regarding the medical care they receive.
If you don’t yet have a living will, contact one of our elder law attorneys in The Villages today.
What Goes in a Living Will?
A living will states what type of end-of-life care you want in the event you can’t tell your doctors. It typically kicks in if you have a terminal or end stage condition, meaning there is no reasonable chance for your recovery, or you are in a persistent vegetative state.
Many people do not want heroic, invasive treatment like CPR or intubation if there is no chance that they can recover. Nevertheless, they might want palliative care, which is care that ensures they are comfortable in the final stage of their life.
Living wills vary in the amount of detail that they include. Florida has a basic form that might work for some people. However, we encourage clients to think more specifically about the types of care they want and don’t want. We will help clients work through these issues and draft an appropriate living will.
What Else Can a Living Will Accomplish?
You can also use your living will to state whether you want to donate your organs after you have died.
Can I Revoke a Living Will?
Yes. Even if you created a valid living will, you can always change your mind. You might want to revise your living will or simply not have one. If you want a new advance directive, we encourage you to create one with an attorney, who can make it crystal clear that the new directive supersedes any older ones.
You can also revoke a living will by destroying it, such as tearing it up. But there might be many copies floating around, so revocation by destruction is not the ideal method.
Do I Also Need a Health Care Surrogate?
Many people have both. A health care surrogate is someone empowered to make decisions for you when you cannot make your own. Remember, not all incapacity involves terminal illness. You might become incapacitated temporarily, and there might still be a good chance to prolong your life. In these situations, your health care surrogate can make decisions about what type of medical treatment you should receive. You can name your surrogate in your living will.
Choose your surrogate wisely. Many married people automatically appoint their spouse, but you could choose an adult child or a close friend. Typically, your surrogate should live near you so that they can be physically present to make decisions.
Ready to Get Started?
Millhorn Elder Law Planning Group is dedicated to helping people in The Villages with their legal needs. Please contact us today by calling to schedule your free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney.