Good estate planning isn’t just about distributing your assets after you’re gone – it’s also about creating a plan to protect you and your loved ones if you should become disabled or incapacitated.
And while a living trust will take care of those assets in the event of a disability, you need a living will to protect your health and well-being.
Also known as a health care directive, a living will is a legal document that dictates how you want to be treated medically if you are no longer able to speak on your own behalf. It addresses life and death issues and can mean the difference between living on life support for years or being allowed to pass on when there’s no brain activity.
A valid Power of Attorney should accompany your living will, giving someone you trust the power to speak on your behalf regarding decisions related to your health care. Copies of both documents should be notarized and on file with your attorney and to ensure that there’s no question about your wishes, you should make sure that your loved ones are aware of these documents and their instructions as well.
While there are a number of living will templates online, it’s best to consult an experienced estate planning attorney when drafting this type of document. After all, you’re dealing with matters of life and death – you want to make sure that all possible scenarios have been covered so that there’s no question about your wishes later on.
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