Living Will definition:

A living will, also known as a directive to physicians, advance directive or a health care directive, provides your medical power of attorney  with your life-sustaining treatment preferences should you be faced with a condition where survival is not expected without permanent life support measures.

Living Will vs Living Trust (inter vivos Trust):

A Living Will makes decision about life support and organ donation in advance and name someone to manage your healthcare, whilst a Living Trust  transfer your assets into a trust while you’re alive and set your wishes for distribution once you’re gone.

Importance of a living will or advance directive

While it can be uncomfortable to consider these types of decisions, especially for the young, advance directives are important because they give a medical power of attorney clear guidance if this difficult decision is presented to him or her.

Note: this document is different than an out of hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate order which can be managed by your physician.

  • Major medical decisions often must be made on short notice, and both first responders and your doctors particularly want to know who to contact in an emergency.
  • If you have minor children, it is important to have contact information for who will take care of them while you are in the hospital.

The Weeks Law Firm, PLLC is proud to be affiliated with DocuBank, a nationwide medical directive storage and emergency contact information clearinghouse for your trusted friends and family members to be quickly informed about any emergencies.

Have you considered the following:

  • Who will make decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself?
  • Who will have the power to sign documents on your behalf?
  • Who will make sure your bills get paid if you are in the hospital for an extended time?

The following are examples of end-of-life care decisions that should be addressed in your Living Will:

Living will

  • Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Mechanical Ventilation
  • Tube Feeding
  • Dialysis
  • Antibiotics or antiviral medication
  • Comfort care
  • Organ and tissue donations
  • Donation of your body

Why you should consult with a Living Will Attorney

An attorney can discuss options with you regarding a Living Will vs a Health Care Power of Attorney or a medical power of attorney.  The Living Will is normally limited to deathbed concerns, whilst a health care power of attorney includes all health care decisions.  Both are only active when you are incapable of making decisions yourself.

You also need to consider and discuss the effect of a Living Will on your estate plan with your attorney.

Some disadvantages of a Living Will to consider are:

  • It is only valid as long as it constitutes clear, detailed evidence of your wishes
  • How do you ensure that your instructions cater for all possible future events? This leaves your wishes open to interpretation by those who needs to implement your wishes.
  • It is only “enforceable” in the state by which it is governed.
  • It is only “enforceable” when you are terminally ill. The Doctor might not agree that you fall into this category.
  • Where is your Living Will? If it is locked up in the safe at home or a safety deposit box, then you will be treated as if you have never drafted one.

Contact Weeks Law Firm’s living will attorneys in Plano to discuss the best options available to you to ensure your wishes are carried out.

Tresi Weeks
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