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Do It Yourself Legal Forms
The Difficult Task Of Making Living Wills
Preparing a living will is not an task that is going to be a cheerful task for most people. In fact, most of us would probably dread dealing with this task. However, there is a way to alleviate some of the unpleasantness.
It usually comes in the form of a living will kit, which can provide valuable guidance and assistance in the drafting of a living will minus the distasteful feeling of admitting the possibility of becoming ill to the point of incapacity.
A living will, which is also referred to as an "advance directive",
is simplhy a legal document that clearly declares a person's preferences regarding long-term medical care at the time when he or she
is no longer capable of autonomous decision-making.
Living Wills Come in Two Varieties: General and Statutory
The general living will asserts personal wishes concerning long-term
medical care without being consistent with any accepted standard. In
contrast, the statutory living will is a lawful form that coincides with the
requirements of a particular state law concerning living wills.
Because of the legal implications of making a living will, it is highly recommended, both by lawyers and sellers of do it yourself legal forms and software, to draw up one while you're still well and healthy. A lot of web sites on the Internet in fact offer information about this matter. You may even download free templates for living wills if you want to perform a run through. Just make sure that you seek professional advice when you actually draft the final one.
The Basic Prerequisites
Since any living will is also considered a personal document, its
contents may vary on a case-to-case basis. However, there are essential prerequisites
that render it legal.
As much as reasonable or possible, you should tell your family and/or
closest friends about your living will. You may even assign somebody to
act or make decisions on your behalf in case you become incapacitated.
- Legal competence of the maker/owner of the living will should be definitively established.
- Obviously, the document should be signed by the
maker/owner and should also be read and signed by two witnesses. In
case the owner/maker is incapable to sign, he or she may ask a
representative to do so. These witnesses should also be of legal age
(18 years old and over). Also, the selected representative of the maker
of the living will should not be either of the two witnesses.
- The date of preparation should be indicated and
notarization must be done, if
the state requires it.
- The directives contained in the living will should
with the laws of a particular state. In general, they
should relate to cases wherein the owner/maker has been diagnosed of a
terminal disease, or has been comatose for a period that's long enough
to be considered permanent and any medical intervention would only
function to maintain or prolong the current vegetative state.
In addition, copies of the living will should be given to the
owner/maker's family members, the attending physician, the
hospital/nursing home, and other persons involved in the medical care.
A duplicate may also be submitted to a living will registry that will
take care of the necessary distribution for a certain fee.
These days, a common question at admission to a hospital is, "Do you
have a living will or advance directive?" While a Power of
Attorney can suffice in many situations, a living will is the preferred
vehicle for expressing the wishes of the maker.
Modification of a Living Will
Living wills may also be fairly easily changed or modified. In case you
ever decide to make necessary changes, you should notify and furnish
copies to all the recipients of your previous living will. Aside from
that, all copies of the former document should be consequently
The preparation of living wills is a naturally emotional matter. Even a calm and sensible person may find it difficult to fully concentrate on the task.
That is why it is important to get all the possible assistance - both professionally and emotionally - when drafting a legal document such as this one.
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