Did you know that the treatments Americans would choose near the end of their life are not often the treatments they receive? The disconnect between the care you want and the care you get is based on whether or not you have a living will.
Instead of placing your fate in the hands of doctors or family members, decide for yourself how you want to be cared for. To do this, you need to learn how to make a living will.
Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Living Will?
A living will is not the same document as a traditional will. A traditional will is for leaving property to someone, naming a guardian for your kids, or naming an executor.
A living will is also not the same as a living trust, an alternative to the traditional will. For a traditional will, you’ll want to work with an estate planning attorney.
A living will is where you’ll describe the kind of healthcare you wish to receive if you cannot speak for yourself. This is sometimes called a health care declaration.
What Goes in a Living Will?
Learning how to make a living will involves knowing what to put into the document. You can put wishes you have for medical care in the living will by instructing that certain care types are given or not given.
For example, if needed, you can note that you want to be put on a ventilator. This is common in the wake of COVID-19.
Each state will have a different form requesting your input about various care types. They will likely include the following:
Deciding the type of care you want won’t be easy, but it prevents all of the stress from being placed on your loved ones. Those who create a living will consider their own preferences and how their choices affect family and friends.
How to Make a Living Will
You don’t need a lawyer to learn how to write a living will, but you can hire one if you prefer. Each state has its own requirements for making a living will so you’ll need to ensure you have the correct form.
So, how much does it cost to make a living will? This will also depend on the state you are in. Hiring a lawyer is going to increase the price but it’s cheaper to complete the form on your own.
You might be able to find a free living will form at these places:
- Local hospitals
- Local senior centers
- Your state’s medical association
- Your regular physician
Even though the form is free, prepare to pay for a notary. Some states require that you sign your living will in front of a witness and have it notarized.
Once completed, consider giving a copy of the living will to your doctors, healthcare facility, and family members.
Do I Need a Living Will?
Planning ahead of time for traumatic events is not exciting for anyone. However, it’s important to draft a living will for circumstances that may occur in the future.
A living will states your preferred medical treatment if you cannot speak for yourself. With this guide, you know how to make a living will that respects your wishes.
For more legal articles, check out the other posts on our blog.