What you need to know about a living will
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

What you need to know about a living will

Most people don’t want to think about the end of their lives. Imagine someone you love is unconscious, with no hope to recover. That person is unable to make decisions. They can’t tell you what it feels like, and can’t tell you to let go or hold on. This is why creating a living will is so important.

Instead of burdening your family with end of life decisions, tell them what you want. By doing so, you give yourself and your family peace of mind. As you set up your estate plan,  include a living will to spell out your wishes.

What Is a Living Will?

Similar to a last will and testament, a living will is a legal document to describe your final wishes. Instead of asset distribution, it focuses on medical decisions. The document controls what will happen if you are ever unable to make decisions while being permanently unconscious or terminally ill. It tells your loved ones what to do when you are unable.

A living will is much broader than a document that tells when to let go of a loved one. You can use it to plan for pain management, medical treatment, and comfort care. It should let your loved ones know the care you want in addition to what you do not want.

A living will names the person, your Representative, who will communicate your wishes. They will work with your medical team to make sure they carry out what you want. If you are unable to make decisions for yourself, this puts someone in place to do so on your behalf.

How Does a Living Will Protect You?

Before a living will kicks in, your doctor will say that you meet the criteria. A doctor must say you will never regain consciousness or will never recover from your illness. The doctor must also determine that you cannot decide for yourself. Until both of these things are true, the document does not take effect.

You can make amendments to a living will at any time, or revoke it entirely. But until you do, it is binding. Creating a living will lifts a burden from those who would otherwise have to guess what you want.

Understanding Emotional Concerns

At first, a living will could make you or your loved ones anxious. It can be uncomfortable to think about dying. However, writing out your wishes lets you go on without having to think about it. It gives your family the information they need to make the decisions you desire. They don’t have to decide, because you took care of it.

A living will is an important tool to help your loved ones move on when you pass. When you are ready to set up your end of life plans, contact Ogborne Law. We can help with all of your estate planning needs.