A Living Will is one of the most valuable advance directives that people can include in their estate plans, and it is also one that people all too often overlook. They put together a durable power of attorney to name someone to act as their agent and a will designating beneficiaries for their biggest personal assets. However, they don’t create a living will to guide their health care.
A living will can be a very important tool for those preparing for their golden years and a possible decline in their health, as well as for those who have serious medical issues, such as a recently-diagnosed form of cancer. What are the two most valuable benefits of a Living Will?
1) Control over their healthcare
The single most valuable benefit people derive from creating a living will is the control over their medical treatment if they experience some kind of incapacitating emergency. Especially if someone has a chronic health condition that affects what interventions they would prefer or religious beliefs that require that they forgo certain types of treatment, providing clear instructions for loved ones and healthcare providers can eliminate questions about the best treatment options.
2) Peace of mind for the testator and their family
For the individual creating an estate plan, it can be a source of comfort to know that there are clear instructions about their medical wishes to guide their loved ones, regardless of what may happen in their life. For family members, having a written document to refer to in some kind of family emergency can prove invaluable. Even if people have had difficult conversations with their loved ones about their medical preferences, people experiencing intense stress may have a hard time recalling the details of those conversations or may confuse prior preferences with someone’s changing wishes as their health and family have shifted.
Those who take the time to put their specific wishes in writing will take a certain kind of stress off of their closest loved ones in an emergency and will have the comfort that comes from knowing that their medical preferences are clear and easy for others to follow. Seeking legal guidance to properly integrate important documents into a Colorado estate plan can help people provide for their loved ones and also more effectively protect themselves in an uncertain world.
To get more information about this important legal issue, CONTACT US. We will be happy to help you with this Estate Planning matter.
Written by Marco Chayet – founder and managing partner of Chayet & Danzo, LLC. and ColoradoElderLaw.com. Mr. Chayet is also the Public Administrator of the 18th Judicial District, serving as a fiduciary for the counties of Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln. He is the past chairman of the Elder Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association and the current Elder Law Section delegate to the Colorado Bar Association Board of Governors.
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