A living will is not something that is used to arrange for the eventual transfer of your financial holdings to your heirs. This is an advance directive for health care that serves a purpose within the incapacity component of a comprehensive estate plan.
Medical technologies can sometimes keep people alive even if there is no hope of recovery. The removal of things like feeding tubes and ventilators could result in the death of the individual receiving these life-sustaining measures.
How you would want physicians to proceed if you were relying on life-sustaining technologies to prolong your life is a personal decision. You can make this decision in writing by executing a living will.
Imagine being a family member who had to make this decision in your behalf. It’s tough to be placed into this position. And, different members of your family could have different ideas with regard to the situation. This can create tension and conflict within the family.
By taking the time to execute a living will you let everyone know exactly how you feel, and you don’t place this difficult decision in the hands of someone else.
A recent survey found that less than 40% of respondents had a living will in place. This is a disturbing figure, and many people who don’t have a living will don’t have any other estate planning documents in place either.
If you are among those who are currently unprepared for the future a simple first step to take would be to set up a consultation with a licensed estate planning lawyer.