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What is a Living Will – Definition

What is a Living Will?

A survivor will provide instructions to your healthcare provider if you are unable to communicate. If you suffer irreversible or terminal injury, life will decide whether you want to receive medical treatment to prolong your life.

Why is it important to have a Living Will?

Making a living will reduce the uncertainty of your desires, by explaining how you would like to proceed with the use of life-saving measures if the situation arises. A living will should always be a part of you estate planning,

If there is no living will, physicians will turn to the immediate family to make important medical decisions. Typically, a spouse will consult the individual first, then any child. However, it is highly recommended that everyone has access to not only your physicians to provide guidance, but also to prevent any additional tension, disagreements, emotional burden, or even legal battles between family members. There is also a living will for.

What does a living will look like?

Living wills will appear differently to everyone, depending on a person’s wishes and witnesses and state regulations surrounding notarization. For example, in New York and Virginia, you need two witnesses, while in Massachusetts and Michigan, there is no need for witnesses.

Your life may have more general directions, such as stopping any life-process when there is little chance of survival, or it may be very elaborate. This may include specific instructions on treatment and care that you may or may not want (for example, ventilators or artificial nutrition and hydration). It is also recommended that the will state whether the person wishes to donate organs for transplantation or research purposes. A living will should outline end-of-life wishes, such as whether you want to die at home or in hospital.

To see what rules apply in your state and what you can include in a living will, take a look at E-Forms Living Will Form,

What is the difference between Living Will and Advance Directive?

These words are used similarly, but they are not exactly the same.

If you become disabled and there is no hope of recovery, a survivor will communicate your wishes regarding life-saving measures and medical treatment. It is effective only when a person is terminally ill. On the other hand, an advance directive is much more comprehensive, allowing you to give multiple health directives and designate someone else to make decisions for you in the event of a disability. They tend to be more comprehensive and may include several components, such as living wills, DNR orders, or medical powers of attorney, which are prepared in advance of disability or health problems.

Wealthspire Advisors is a registered investment advisory and subsidiary of NFP Corp.
This information should not be treated as a recommendation to buy, offer to sell, or solicit an offer to buy a particular security or investment strategy. Comment provided is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for accounting, legal or tax advice. While the information is believed to be reliable, Wealthspire Advisors cannot guarantee its accuracy, completeness or suitability for any purpose, and makes no warranties with respect to the results obtained from its use. ©2011 Wealthspire Advisors.

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