The benefits of a living will
Most people think setting up an estate plan means drafting a will. However, estate planning involves much more than just having a will.
While a will determines what happens after you die, what happens if something unexpected happens and you are left unable to communicate? Life is unpredictable, and one unforeseen moment could alter the course of your life forever.
What is a living will?
A living will, also known as an advanced healthcare directive, is a document that spells out what you would and would not like to have done in case of a medical or health emergency that leaves you unable to communicate.
A living will lets you declare your wishes on both major and minor medical decisions. For example, your living will can state if you would want to be resuscitated if your heart stops, or if you would want a ventilator to help you breathe.
Other things you can include in your living will are your preferences regarding medication hospice care. Your living will can also cover some of your preferences for after you die, such as if you want to donate any of your organs or your body to science.
Easing the burden on your loved ones
The big advantage of having a living will is it spares your family and loved ones from having to make difficult decisions for you without knowing what you would prefer. Deciding these types of things for someone else can be incredibly stressful and overwhelming.
Although it is not required, if you are married, it helps if your spouse also has a living will. You will both have peace of mind knowing what each of you want done in different types of situations and knowing that you will honor each other’s wishes.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help you determine what you want to include in your living will and draft according to your decisions. Once it is drafted, you should review it every few years to see if anything in it needs to be updated.