Should You Have a Living Will?

Estate planning often conjures up the image of those towards the peak of their lives – not those who are young working professionals. It can be extremely difficult to think of us as mortal beings that will likely get older and face more medical challenges. However, it is important to keep in mind that it is better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to planning ahead for your future health care. It is better to come to these decisions before we need them. 

What Is a Living Will?

A will itself is a legal document that is used to carry out your wishes and to distribute assets to your loved ones after you have passed. Alternatively, a living will is a legal document that provides for what you wish to happen regarding your medical treatment in the event that you are unable to provide informed consent. 

Sometimes situations occur in which individuals are severely injured or gravely ill and are in need of medical treatment but cannot legally make any decisions for themselves. A living will can serve as an advance directive, making those decisions ahead of time for yourself so that your loved ones won’t need to. 

For instance, if you are involved in a car accident and experience brain damage, do you want your life to be sustained by machines? If your heart stops after a seizure, do you want to be resuscitated? 

You cannot make such decisions in the moment, which is where having a living will can come in handy. However, for a living will to be effective, it must be signed in front of another person, a witness. 

Taking the Pressure Off

Individuals without a living will who find themselves in a position in which they cannot make legal decisions must rely upon their loved ones to do so on their behalf. This can prove extremely trying when they themselves are going through such an emotionally tumultuous time. By having these decisions made, it can take an immense amount of pressure off of them while still receiving the care that you would want. 

Although emergency medical professionals are required to stabilize a patient under the law when called to them, the courts must still honor living wills. However, a living will does not go into effect unless you are legally unable to make decisions for yourself. Therefore until it is legally triggered, a living will may remain private. 

Reilly Law PLC Helps Those in Virginia Who Are in Need of a Living Will

At Reilly Law PLC, we understand the importance of protecting your wishes and that, which should be yours. We will help you to create a living will and a comprehensive estate plan that meets your wishes and makes the lives of your loved ones easier. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!