A Living Will and Other Estate Planning Documents Are Essential For Everyone
Even if you don’t have a significant IRA, investment accounts, or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property, there are various reasons why having an estate plan is incredibly important. If you were to die suddenly, would anyone you know have the legal authority to make decisions for you? About your healthcare, finances, or even your pets?
At Goldberg & Associates, we are passionate about educating people on the importance of having a living will and other estate planning documents. Having certain documents in order and designating beneficiaries for assets, no matter how few assets there are, can save remaining friends and family a significant amount of time and stress. And you can ensure that your healthcare and financial wishes are met. If you want to learn more about a living will or setting up an estate plan, contact our attorneys today.
Reasons Why You Need a Living Will
- Protection For When You Are Unable to Speak For Yourself
- Helps Avoid Family Disagreements
- Gives You Control Over Your Medical Treatment
- Can Help Reduce Medical Bills
- Provides Peace of Mind
Having a Living Will is Important For Everyone
How old you are and the number of assets that you have is not important when it comes to having a living will. Of course, none of us plan on getting into an accident, but the truth is that no one can predict what will happen with our lives. And with this uncertainty, it’s important to plan ahead so that you can avoid various legal issues, hassles, and stress.
What is a Living Will?
Essentially, a living will is a list of instructions pertaining to your medical care and treatment in the event that you are unable to make decisions on your own. There are various things that you can include in a living will, such as your wishes regarding:
- Mechanical ventilation
- Tube feeding
- Comfort or palliative care
- Organ and tissue donation
What Other Estate Planning Documents Do You Need?
Aside from a living will, there are several other estate planning documents that can be immensely helpful:
- Healthcare Power of Attorney / Healthcare Proxy: This person has the legal authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf, such as where you get treatment, what surgeries are performed, and what medication is given. They should be familiar with the information in your living will.
- Durable POA: This person can make financial and business decisions on your behalf, such as opening and closing accounts.
Last Will and Testament: This document will specify how your assets will be distributed. This includes personal items, real estate, and financial assets.
What Happens if You Are Incapacitated or Die Without a Living Will?
In the event that you are incapacitated (in a coma) and are unable to speak for yourself, and there is no legal document stating what your wishes are (should you be kept on a ventilator, should your organs be donated, etc.), here are a few things that will happen:
Doctors Are Required to Keep You Alive
If you are being kept alive artificially, the law requires that there is clear evidence that life support can be taken away, ending your life. Even verbally expressing to someone may not be enough evidence for doctors to remove life support.
You Could be Given Treatment That Goes Against Your Beliefs
It is the doctor’s job to keep you alive no matter what is required. If you have particular religious beliefs against life support or other treatments, surgeries, and medication, but they have not been expressed in a written, legal document, then you will most likely receive that treatment anyway.
Loved Ones May Disagree About What is Right
Not having your healthcare wishes expressed in a living will could potentially lead to a disagreement amongst remaining friends and family. For example, if you told your spouse that you would not want to be on a ventilator, but your parents believe otherwise, it could result in a legal battle over who gets to decide what happens.
Get Expert Guidance From Estate Planning Attorneys to Create Your Living Will
With a living will, you will be able to provide clear instructions regarding your healthcare in the event that you are no longer able to speak for yourself. While estate planning, in general, may seem like it’s only meant for certain people with enough wealth and assets, everyone should have a living will that can clearly express their wishes.
If you have any questions or need guidance from an estate planning attorney, get in touch with the team at Goldberg & Associates. We provide service throughout the Atlanta area with locations in Peachtree City, Griffin, and Atlanta.