The Basics of the Living Will And How It Works

do it yourself Living Will software from Standard Legal
do it yourself Living Will software from Standard Legal
What is a Living Will?

LIving Wills and Advance Medical Directives

The Living Will - Right and Privilege

Do It Yourself Legal Forms

Questions About Advance Directives and Living Wills

Planning for the Future

Making a Living Will

Health Care

Advantages of Living Wills and Living Trusts

Contents of Living Wills

Living Wills and Power of Attorney

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The overall concept of a "living will" may not be very clear to a great many people. Some may even confuse it with the "last will and testament", which is a completely different type of legal document. In point of fact, a living will is more like a "power of attorney", and, just to confuse things, can co-exist WITH a last will and testament!.

The primary purpose of a living will is to make it possible for you – the maker or owner – to formulate decisions in advance with regard to your wishes pertaining to medical treatment or life support, and lawfully be able to command the health care team to carry out your wishes in that regard even if when the time comes you are no longer able to do so for yourself.

Because of constant advances in the fields of medicine and health care, doctors are now more often able to sustain life than in previous eras...even if it means the victim risks being in a permanently vegetative condition.

This is one of the primary reasons that the living will has become such a necessity in our modern world.

Not all people like the idea of remaining in an almost lifeless state for an indefinite period of time.

More often than not, the notion of extending life even when death is just around the corner seems emotionally excruciating for both the family and the patient. It's just a way of prolonging the suffering while not allowing anyone to move on.

A living will is a document, often available in a do-it-yourself legal form or software, which makes it possible for you to decide whether life-sustaining measures and medical treatment should be continued or withheld in the event that you have reached a state where you cannot make your wishes known. The directive may also include information and guidance for loved ones, including, for example, a refusal to take artificial feeding. Additionally, while still sound of mind and body, you may express other specific wishes before you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for your health care.

In order for a living will to be legally binding, the appropriate form must be used and it must be accomplished in conformity with applicable state laws on the subject of living wills. A number of states require the presence and signatures of two valid witnesses, the attendance of a Notary Public, or both, for example, and failure to complete the right documents in the proper manner can make a living will useless.

This is why choosing the appropriate living will software, or do-it-yourself legal forms, is of prime importance. Since the rules vary from state to state, make sure you do your research before you plunk your money down.

In the event the living will form requires the appointment of a patient advocate, he or she must not be any of the two witnesses. Your advocate should carry the burden of deciding for your health care and medical treatment in the unfortunate case of your incapacity to make the decision yourself. This person is also sometimes known as a health care representative. He or she may be a spouse, a daughter or son, other family member, friend, or any significant person whom you trust to handle such matters for you when you cannot.

A living will only becomes effective when its creator is no longer capable of making decisions with regard to medical treatment. This may be in the case of a terminal illness, permanent unconsciousness or coma, inability to communicate, mental incapacity, or vegetative condition as a result of accident, illness, or even unknown causes.

In the unfortunate event of any of these situations, the health care provider...a hospital, hospice, or nursing home...must be provided with a copy of the advance directive. As the name implies, an advance directive is the document which tells your doctor what kind of care you would like to receive should you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself.  The instructions contained within this legal document will serve as the basis for decisions concerning the continuation or withdrawal of medical treatment and other life-sustaining procedures.

The health care team, specifically the attending physician, is legally bound to follow the directives indicated on a living will. However, although it is most certainly a legal document which binds the health care team to respect the wishes of the maker, the maker may also choose to revoke or change the contents of the will at any time prior to becoming debilitated.

Just as with the initial preparation, the proper procedures for the revocation of a living will should be followed to make the act official.
do it yourself Living Will software from Standard Legal

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Page Updated 2:48 AM Friday 12/19/2014