When Do You Need a Living Will?
No one can predict the future, but an estate planning attorney in Las Vegas can help you prepare. Living wills, also known as advance directives, are legal documents that speak for you when you can’t make your wishes known. They differ from health care proxies by taking the burden for making tough medical decisions off of your family’s shoulders.
Why You Should Have a Living Will
Anyone over 18 years of age should have a living will. It can be as simple as a document regarding life-support and emergency resuscitation measures or an elaborate plan detailing all possible end-of-life wishes. A living will takes the uncertainty out of the equation if sometime in the future you have to face a terminal illness or end up in a vegetative state.
What Goes Into an Advance Directive?
You should spell out your specific wishes regarding life-saving care if you’re unconscious, on life support, or otherwise unable to provide consent. You can add a “Do not resuscitate” order if there is little chance of recovery, but specify certain other treatments or medications if they will save your life. The legal authority of doctors over these matters will end at your death, except in cases where you want to permit an autopsy or organ donation.
Can My Family Ignore My Wishes?
No one can treat you without your consent. When you’re unable to give it, doctors must turn to your family unless there’s a legal document that provides instructions. Your living will confers the status of durable power of attorney (DPOA) to doctors in a life or death scenario. While it can be revoked or changed by you at any time during your life, family members have very little recourse at the end of it. In fact, doctors may find themselves in legal jeopardy if they ignore your directives. Talk to an estate planning lawyer about creating one today so you won’t have to worry about tomorrow.