Free Living Will
A living will is a legal document that you can
use to outline your wishes regarding the prolonging of your
life through medical means. It is also known as an advance
directive, or a health care/physician's directive. It should
never be confused with a living trust, which is a way to distribute
assets after death without having to go through probate court.
Every adult should have a living will, because it informs
both your doctors and your family about your desire for medical
treatment in the event that you can no longer speak for yourself.
Every state's requirements for a living will are a little
different, and if you are even the slightest bit unsure, you
should consult with an estate lawyer. Many of these lawyers
include both living wills and power of attorney documents
as part of an estate planning package. If you need to write
a will or update an existing one, you can write your living
will at the same time.
Most of the time, a living will outlines a person's desire
(or lack of) for life-prolonging medical treatment. You can
pick and choose what treatments you want in the event that
you either have a terminal illness or are in an irreversible
coma. A living will doesn't take effect until you become incapacitated.
They often require physician certification of a terminal illness
or a vegetative state. For example, if you have a heart attack
but are not diagnosed as permanently unconscious, you would
still be resuscitated.
In situations where you can no longer speak for yourself,
but your health isn't bad enough for your living will to kick
in, you should have a health care proxy or power of attorney.
A POA is a legal document that gives another person the authority
to make health care decisions on your behalf. The person making
these decisions is supposed to take your wishes into consideration,
so make sure to discuss this beforehand with them. The conversation
will be hard, but a power of attorney is a big responsibility.
Even the best living will won't do you any good if no one
knows that it exists. You need to talk to your doctor and
the person you're giving power of attorney to. Tell your doctor
what kind of lifesaving medical treatments you want, and ask
the right questions. Then, make those wishes known to your
family. You can keep copies of your living will in your files
at home, or you can distribute copies to family members. You
can also store the document online so that doctors and family
have access to it day and night.
Download the full form