Thinking about the circumstances of your death is not a task most people look forward to. However, when asked, most people say they would prefer to pass away quietly at home rather than in the hospital emergency room.
Preparing ahead with a living will enables you to remain in control of the decisions near the end of your life, even if you are in a coma and unable to speak. At Casey Lundregan Burns, we guide clients through a thoughtful process to reach decisions and prepare legal documents to ensure those decisions are honored by healthcare providers.
A Living Will is Nothing Like Your Traditional Will
The term “living will” can be confusing because we are so familiar with a last will and testament that provides directions for disposing of your assets when you pass. A living will has nothing to do with property and it concerns decisions made while you still live.
Living wills focus on your wishes for medical care. Sometimes they are referred to as physician’s directives, and they are a type of advance directive that should be included in every estate plan.
You can create, change, or revoke a living will when you are legally competent.
The Purpose of a Living Will
In your living will, you leave instructions for the medical measures you would want to prolong your life in certain circumstances. For instance, if you are in a persistent vegetative state, you might specify that you would not want CPR if your heart stops. Or you might determine that you would not want feeding tubes.
Everyone has their own opinions about what they would want when their quality of life suffers. If you are in a condition where you are unable to communicate, your living will lets others know what you would want.
A Living Will Should be Used in Conjunction with a Health Care Proxy
Another type of advance directive that should be part of your estate plan is a health care proxy, also known as a medical power of attorney. With this document, you authorize an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated.
In Massachusetts, a living will does not carry the same force of law as in other jurisdictions. It serves as a guide to your healthcare agent so they can make decisions aligning with your wishes. When an agent needs to make a difficult decision, such as turning off a ventilator or other form of life support, it is much easier if they know in writing that the action is what you would have wanted in that particular situation. A living will can save your loved ones tremendous heartache and uncertainty.
Work with the Compassionate Attorneys at Casey Lundregan Burns to Prepare Your Living Will
The decisions that you will record in your living will require careful consideration. With over 80 years of experience helping families find their best way forward, the Casey Lundregan Burns team guides you through decisions to prepare a living will that is intended to ensure your wishes are followed. To learn more, talk to us today.