Some of the most important decisions you'll ever make include how to handle your end-of-life healthcare. Unfortunately, you may not be in a state to make those decisions when they matter most.
That's where a Living Will comes into play. With a Living Will, you make all relevant healthcare decisions in advance in case you can't express them on the spot.
Having a Living Will is an excellent way to provide peace of mind for yourself and your loved ones. Without it, the burden of making medical decisions falls on your closest relatives. This is an extremely difficult position to be in, which may cause confusion and conflict within your family.
A Living Will is a legally-binding document outlining your wishes regarding what should happen if you become terminally ill, unconscious, or otherwise incapacitated. Although a Living Will makes your decisions about personal care explicit, those decisions must still comply with state and federal laws.
A Living Will is different from a Last Will and Testament. While a Living Will dictates end-of-life care, a Last Will and Testament conveys instructions about your preferred funeral arrangements and how your assets should be divided after your passing. In other words, a Living Will, as the name implies, is used when you are still alive, while a Last Will and Testament only comes into effect after you die.
A Living Will can be used to address any type of medical care. Some common procedures include dialysis, resuscitation, organ donation, and tube feeding.
Depending on your state, a Living Will may also be known as:
Advance Decision Form
Advance Health Care Directive
Advance Medical Directive
Every adult can benefit from having a valid Living Will, regardless of age and health status. Many unfortunate circumstances could render you unable to communicate your wishes and may impact the care you receive or the speed with which medical staff can make critical decisions.
That said, some people need a Living Will more urgently than others. If you're living with a terminal illness or about to undergo a serious medical procedure, it's vital to draft a Living Will.
In some states, your family will have limited power to make decisions on your behalf. In that case, a Living Will can give them broader authority. Ultimately, a Living Will is about making difficult decisions before it becomes even more difficult to make them.
Create your own documents by answering our easy-to-understand questionnaires to get exactly what you need out of your Living Will.
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All you have to do is fill out a simple questionnaire, print, and sign. No printer? No worries. You and other parties can even sign online.
A Living Will isn't overly complicated, but it does need to have certain elements drafted correctly to be valid. With our proprietary form generator, you'll only need to answer a few basic questions to generate your Living Will.
Let 360 Legal Forms help with our extensive library of attorney-vetted legal forms. All you have to do is fill out our easy-to-understand questionnaire. Once complete, simply download your form as a PDF or Word document from your secure online account.
To create your document, please provide:
Effective Date: Date when the Living Will goes into effect.
Personal Information of Declarant: Your full name and address.
Healthcare Agent: If you have a healthcare agent designated through any other advance care plan, include their information and the document establishing them as your agent.
End-of-Life Decisions: Your preferences regarding end-of-life care. This can include decisions about a number of medical conditions, including terminal illness or injury, life support in the event of permanent unconsciousness, and do-not-resuscitate orders.
Persistent Vegetative State: A state in which brain damage leads to unconsciousness lasting at least four weeks with no clear end.
Anatomical Gift: Organ donation.
Ombudsman: In the Context of Living Will, this is a mediator between patients and hospitals or other care facilities.
Surrogate: Someone authorized to make decisions about your care if you're unable to do so.
HIPAA: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. An HIPAA provision in a Living Will allows your healthcare agent to access your medical records.
To be legally enforceable, a Living Will must be signed by the declarant of the will and two witnesses. Unless it specifically requires notarization, the signatures do not need a notary public to be valid. However, having the signatures notarized ensures they cannot be challenged later and is a good way to maintain the integrity of the document.
After signing your Living Will, retain a copy for your personal records. Make sure the people closest to you have access to it and know where to find it.
It's also a good idea to give one copy to your healthcare agent and one copy to your doctor. You may contact your local hospital and ask them to hold a copy on file as well.
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