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A living will & testament (sometimes referred to as an Advance Health Care Directive) is quite different than a last will & testament. A last will & testament is used to dictate where your assets will go after your death, whereas a living will & testament is used to dictate your health care and medical preferences at the end of your life and after your death, should you not be able to make decisions yourself due to being in a coma or other vegetative state.
The living will & testament should be made while you are still are still alive, healthy and of sound mind. In the living will & testament, you will dictate your wishes regarding such decisions as life support, medical treatment, autopsy, organ donation, and/or how your remains shall be dealt with after your death (burial, cremation, etc).
In the event that you are not able to make decisions or speak for yourself due to a terminal illness, permanent coma or other vegetative state, it would be beneficial to have a living will & testament that outlines your wishes to your family and medical providers. The living will & testament would describe which, if any, life-prolonging medical treatments you do or do not wish to have applied to you. If you do not have a living will & testament, your family may be required to make decisions for you such as whether or not to put you on life support, which medical treatments to give or not give, and what should be done with your organs and remains after death. These are big decisions, and you should carefully discuss your options with your medical providers and family before drafting your official living will & testament.
A living will & testament can be difficult to write, as the decisions that it involves are complex and heavy issues. An estate planning lawyer can help make this easier for you by making sure you get the information you need to make a smart and comprehensive living will & testament. An estate planning attorney can assist you in discussing your options and carefully considering your decisions with your medical providers and close family members. Should an event occur that requires your living will & testament to be used, your attorney will ensure that all wishes in your living will & testament are carried out on your behalf.
Attorney Search Network can help you find an estate planning lawyer in your area. If you are considering a Living Will & Testament, speak to an attorney that knows your state's laws and that will be able to help you write and carry out your Living Will & Testament.
If you have any questions about the information provided above, please contact us. Call us toll free at (800) 215-1190 or fill out out online form for your Wills and Estate Planning lawyer referral.