What Is a Living Will?

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A living will serve a different purpose than a last will and testament. While your will clarifies how you would like your assets to be distributed upon your death, a living will outlines your medical preferences in the event you become incapacitated. Many people put off executing a living will – believing it’s only for the sick or the elderly, but this is a shortsighted approach. The idea is to have your living will in place in the event you ever need it, and while this day – fortunately – may never come, you’ll be well prepared if it does.

In fact, your living will can afford you considerable peace of mind, and you don’t need to rack up steep legal bills to get the job done. TrustHandled is a reputable online solutions company whose work focuses on helping customers like you create solid estate planning tools that reflect their wishes, hold up in court, and withstand the test of time.


The Purpose behind Your Living Will

The purpose behind your living will is three-pronged, including:

  1. Your living will instruct medical professionals regarding the care you wish to receive and the care that you reject – in a dire situation in which you are unable to voice these preferences yourself.
  2. Your living will ensure that your loved ones won’t have to make difficult decisions on your behalf in an emergency situation – decisions that could be difficult for them to live with.
  3. Your living will help your loved ones and family members avoid confusion and conflict regarding your care in an emergency situation.

By having a valid living will in place, you reduce the risk that chaos will rule or that your wishes will not be upheld in a situation in which you are unable to make primary medical decisions on your own behalf.


Writing Your Living Will

Every state has its own estate planning rules and regulations, which makes proceeding in accordance with your state’s laws paramount, and TrustHandled offers state-specific instructions and documents that help take the guesswork out of this equation. When it comes to creating your living will, there are several primary steps you should take.

Have a Heart-to-Heart with Your Doctor

If you have a primary care physician or even a doctor whom you see fairly regularly, it’s an excellent idea to broach the subject of your living will with them. Your doctor can help you better understand the kinds of procedures, treatments, and options that tend to be available in emergency situations. When it comes to your living will, the better informed you are, the better prepared you’ll be to make the right decisions for you.

Choose the Kind and Level of Care You Want

The medical care you are interested in receiving if you are in a situation in which you can’t make your own decisions should be clearly outlined in your living will. You may be averse to specific treatments or procedures, and you may have a time limit regarding how long you are willing to endure said treatments and procedures. Further, if you have concerns regarding pain management, your level of comfort, or issues related to anxiety, it’s important to make your preferences clear in your living will.

The basic healthcare concerns to consider include:

  1. Supplemental feeding
  2. Breathing assistance
  3. Palliative care – or comfort care
  4. Organ donation
  5. Posthumous decisions, such as those related to autopsies, cremation, funeral and burial, and the handling of remains

Discuss the Matter with Your Loved Ones

Having a living will allows your loved ones to bypass the emotional ordeal of making challenging medical decisions on your behalf. By discussing your decisions with your close family members ahead of time – and letting them know they’re documented in a living will – you help take the sting out of any surprises your living will may contain and help minimize confusion and upset in the event the living will need to be implemented.

Name Names

You will also need to identify a representative in your living will whom you trust to make healthcare decisions for you in the face of complications or circumstances that were unforeseen. The primary qualifications for this healthcare proxy or healthcare power of attorney include the following:

  1. Someone whom you trust to uphold your wishes
  2. Someone who is capable of making difficult decisions in emergency situations – even when they might make different decisions if it were left up to them
  3. Someone who is both available and willing to take on this immense responsibility

In some states, this healthcare representative can be included as an element of your living will, and in others, a separate legal document is required.


Do I Need a Living Will?

The best time to make a living will is when you are healthy and can make sound decisions – without the stress and anxiety that comes with injury and illness – regarding your healthcare in the event of an emergency. In other words, having a living will in place is an excellent legal tool that can benefit anyone. While you may never need it, having a living will in place instill considerable peace of mind for both you and your close family members.


Ready to Create a Living Will? TrustHandled Can help

Having a valid living will in place is the right thing to do. It not only ensures that your medical preferences will be upheld if you are unable to voice them but also reduces the chance that a loved one will need to make painful emergency medical decisions on your behalf – all while helping to avoid confusion and infighting.

TrustHandled affords you the opportunity to create a binding living will without the need for an estate planning attorney – at a fraction of the cost. We’ll guide you seamlessly through the process, using a questionnaire-based approach that helps structure your individualized and state-specific living will. To make things that much easier, we’ll also securely store your living will online – where it will be safe from loss and destruction, can be easily amended, and is readily available if needed.