Estate planning is important for all adults, but it can be confusing to navigate all the legal documents involved. A "last will and testament," which is more simply known as a "will," is a common legal document that many are familiar with, however, a "living will" also plays a key role in estate planning.
In this article, we will discuss why having both types of documents is essential and review how each one functions differently. We'll also dive into the critical reasons why every adult needs to have a living will as part of their estate plan.
What Is A Living Will?
A living will, also known as an advance healthcare directive, is a legal document that outlines the medical procedures, medications, and treatments you would want or not want to prolong your life if you ever become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself. It allows you to provide directions for your loved ones and doctors so they can make decisions based on what you would have wanted if you could express them directly.
For example, with a living will, you can provide guidance on when life support should be removed or whether hydration and nutrition should be supplied. This ensures that decisions made regarding your medical care align with your wishes in the event that they cannot be expressed by yourself.
A living will goes beyond just medical care instructions. It can even include details about the type of food you want while in the hospital and who is allowed visitation rights. Without a living will, decisions about these matters could be made on your behalf that may not align with your wishes or interests. It's important to document these decisions to ensure that your best interests are followed during a time of great need.
Living Will vs. Last Will And Testament
A last will and testament is a document used to ensure your assets are distributed as you choose upon death. In contrast, a living will is a document that outlines how you want your medical treatment managed while you are still alive.
It's important to understand the difference between these two types of wills and make sure they reflect your wishes.
Living Will vs. Medical Power of Attorney
A medical power of attorney is an important part of an advanced health care directive. It allows you to name an "agent" who can make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions yourself.
A living will, on the other hand, explains how you would like your medical care handled during your incapacity. Both are essential components of ensuring that your wishes are followed in the event that you cannot make medical decisions for yourself.
Why Having A Living Will Is So Important
A living will is a crucial part of an estate plan that can provide certainty and peace of mind in the event of a medical emergency. It ensures that your medical treatment is carried out exactly as you want, and prevents your family from having to make difficult decisions or endure unnecessary trauma or conflict. Without it, your family would have to guess at what treatments you might prefer, potentially leading to stress, guilt, and even court battles over who should manage your care. Ensure that you get the care you want by creating a living will today.
How We Can Help
It's important to get customized, personalized guidance when creating a living will. Online services can provide generic documents, but they cannot anticipate or address your unique wishes and needs adequately. Working with experienced estate planning professionals like us ensures your directives are tailored to suit your unique situation and gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that all the bases have been covered. With our expert counseling, we can work together to create a living will that meets both your medical needs and end-of-life care wishes.
This article is a service of the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, an estate planning law firm in Honolulu, Hawaii. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That is why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you have ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by contacting our office today to schedule a planning session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.
Disclaimer: All information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should contact an attorney trained to work with families on estate planning matters regarding your specific situation. Use of and access to this website or any of the email links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, and any users or any other party.