Living Wills: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Living Wills: Frequently Asked QuestionsBy Toma Franklin, Staff Writer

Estate Planning is the way to ensure that your assets and property are dealt with in the manner that you choose, even after your death. Along with a will, living trust, and other estate planning documents, a living will is crucial when it comes to stating, and securing, your wishes. Please continue reading to discover more about living wills, what they are, and how they can benefit you.

Question:

What is a living will?

Answer:

A living will is a legal document that informs your physician that you do not wish to have your death artificially postponed in the even of a serious or incurable accident, injury, or illness.

Question:

Why do I need a living will?

Answer:

Many people decide that they would rather not place the heavy emotional and psychological burden of last wishes onto their loved ones. Some also execute living wills in order to make sure that their final wishes, and not those of someone who may have a difference of opinion, are carried out.

Question:

What is the difference between a living will and a DNR order?

Answer:

A DNR or "Do Not Resuscitate Order" is an agreement between a physician and a patient that the patient will not be resuscitated under any circumstances-even if the need for resuscitation is not brought on by an irreversible condition. Living wills apply only in cases of medically proven irreversible conditions when there is no hope of the patient regaining consciousness.

Question:

Who can have a living will?

Answer:

A living will can be executed by any person determined to be of legal adult age and generally proven to be of both sound mind and sound body at the time of the execution. The living will declaration must be signed by the declarer, and witnessed by two adult (at least 18 years of age) individuals.

Question:

Can a living will be revoked?

Answer:

A living will can be revoked if it has been burnt, torn, or otherwise altered in a manner indicating intent of termination. Living wills can also be revoked in writing by the declarer or orally, as long as a witness is present to make a written declaration confirming the revoke.

Question:

Are living wills recognized in all States?

Answer:

Nearly every state currently recognized living wills to be authoritative, legal documents, but regulations and restrictions do vary by state, so it is a good idea to consult an attorney who currently practices in your resident state for details.

Your Living Will: Your Future Security

Your living will is a legal document that can speak for you when you become unable to do so. Living wills provide undisputed proof of your final wishes-something that is crucial for expedient implementation of your wishes at a time that is sure to be very emotional for all concerned. Speak with your financial advisor, as well as your attorney, to discuss adding a living will to your estate, and experience the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your final wishes will be carried out even if you are unable to personally articulate them.