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What Is A Living Will And Why Is It Important?

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By Author: T. Owen Rassman
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A "Living Will" is a document that allows us to set forth our health care wishes. In a comprehensive estate plan, it’s ideally located within our "Advance Health Care Directive". The terms are often used interchangeably, along with "Power of Attorney for Health Care", but the bottom line is this: if it’s important to you that your health care wishes be known and that someone you trust have the authority to advocate for you in the event you lack capacity to do so yourself, you should execute an Advance Health Care Directive – a document that sets forth your healthcare instructions/wishes (i.e. Living Will) with the nomination of an individual (an "Agent") to carry out such instructions/wishes (i.e. Power of Attorney for Health Care).

Most people prefer not to think about a Living Will, because it forces us to think about falling sick and/or dying. But, as we all know, life is uncertain and unpredictable. All of us, at any time, could find ourselves sick, injured, on life-support, in a coma, in the final stages of dementia, or near the end of life. Without a Living Will in place and the nomination of a Health Care Agent to carry out our wishes, we risk putting our healthcare in the hands of strangers.

What to consider when planning a Living Will and Power of Attorney for Health Care?

When preparing a Living Will, there are many issues we need to address: Do we want our lives to be prolonged in the event of an incurable illness likely to result in death within a short time? Would we rather our lives not be prolonged in such an event? Do we want pain relief? Do we want to live in the comfort of our own home? Do we want to donate organs, be cremated or buried, etc.?

When choosing our Agent for our Power of Attorney for Health Care, we need to consider: Who do we trust to make such personal, health care decisions? Who do we know that has the appropriate skill set to be able to communicate with our health care providers and doctors? Who has the emotional stability to advocate our wishes in what may be an emotional and stressful situation?

All are issues to discuss with our doctors and with a Carlsbad probate attorney.

Why hire a probate attorney Carlsbad CA to create a Living Will?

According to a survey published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, only a quarter of Americans have Living Wills in place. Although creating a Living Will may seem to be simple, oversights are frequent. An attorney who focuses on estate planning can help you create an effective Living Will according to state laws. Contact a probate and estate planning attorney to discuss your concerns and learn how they can help address your Living Will concerns.

The author is a reputed estate planning attorney in Carlsbad CA. He helps clients in estate planning to avoid probate, un-necessary taxes, and legal fees. Visit https://www.rassmanlaw.com for more details.

More About the Author

With over 14 years of experience, Rassman Law is one of the leading Probate and Estate Planning law firms in California. Our legal services include California probate, trust administration, estate planning, estate tax planning, wills and trusts, advanced health care directives, business formations and more. At Rassman Law, attorney T. Owen Rassman was voted as the best probate and estate planning attorney in Carlsbad CA.

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