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What is a living will?

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2020 | Estate Planning

While the majority of aspects related to estate planning are not going to come into effect until after your death, this is not true for all documents. One document that may potentially come into use prior to death is a living will. According to the Mayo Clinic, a living will is an advance directive that provides legal instructions with your preferences regarding medical care if you cannot make these decisions for yourself. 

While nobody likes to think about being incapacitated, it is a reality, particularly as we age. Common reasons for incapacitation at any age may include serious car accidents or aneurysms. However, as you get older, it is more likely that you may have a stroke or potentially suffer from a memory disease like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. If this is the case, you will not be able to make legal decisions of your own accord. One way to get around this is to designate power of attorney to a descendant or other trusted individual, but living wills can help speak for you in the event that you cannot do so for yourself. 

Living wills are very important if you happen to have strong opinions on end-of-life care. They can also help if you believe that your family situation may become contentious regarding your care if you are incapacitated, as the living will will make the decisions for them. Even in the event that you do not anticipate any animosity among your family members, a living will can help make this period easier for them as you will have made the decisions regarding your care in advance.