One of the most components of estate planning is creating a living will (not to be confused with a last will and testament). Essentially, a living will (also known as an advance healthcare directive) is a legal document that will outline your wishes for end-of-life medical care. Of course, it’s not something most of us would like to think about, but choosing what medical care you would–or would not–like to receive today can give you peace of mind and ease the burden on family members who would otherwise have to make those decisions on your behalf. A living will lawyer from our firm can help walk you through the process.
Your living will dictates what medical treatment you may or may not receive at the end of your life. This is an absolutely critical decision, and you should not leave it up to chance by trying to draft such a document on your own. If your will is not in compliance with state law, healthcare providers won’t be able to recognize the terms set out in your living will, should the time come for them to use it. Our Pasco County, FL estate planning lawyer has extensive experience drafting these documents and can ensure yours upholds your wishes and is a legally binding document.
There are several things that a living will can accomplish. To start, as previously mentioned, it can put your end-of-life wishes into writing, should you be unable to express those wishes on your own due to a medical condition down the road. This can include decisions regarding feeding tubes, life support, ventilators, and other medical treatments. Though it’s not easy to think about, it is an important part of protecting your autonomy and ensuring your wishes are respected regardless of whether you can speak for yourself when the time comes.
Additionally, a living will can help avoid conflict between your family members. It’s not uncommon, for example, for one adult child to want to keep their parent alive at all costs, while the other adult child believes it would be best to let their parent go out peacefully. These are very challenging decisions for all parties to make, and having a living will in place makes it so these decisions are already made and no one has to make them for you.
Absolutely. In fact, every facet of your estate plan should, at the very least, be reviewed every year or after a major life event occurs. For example, if you get divorced, you’ll likely want to remove your ex as a beneficiary in your will. Likewise, if there is a change in your medical condition or overall health, a change in your personal beliefs, or simply a change in what you want to happen with your end-of-life treatment, you should absolutely update your living will. Our firm can help you do so quickly and cost-effectively.
The bottom line is that living wills are powerful tools that give those who draft them autonomy and those who have to enforce them peace of mind. If you’d like to draft such a document, our firm is here to help. Contact The Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, P.A. today to schedule an initial consultation with our compassionate estate planning team.