Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why do I need a living will?

Setting up directives for others to follow in case you are incapacitated or otherwise terminally ill might seem ridiculous if you are young or healthy. However, you do have the right to decide on medical treatment even if you might not be physically able to direct a doctor or other healthcare professional.

If you work with an estate planning attorney to create a living will, you then have the power to leave instructions about what your medical wishes are, and save your family and loved ones potential anguish and discomfort.

What Is A Living Will?

A living will is a legally binding document in which to set forth your preferred medical treatment or end of life directives, in case you are not able to do so at some point. For example, you might be able to dictate that you would rather be in hospice care as opposed to being kept alive through some sort of artificial means, or decline the usage of a feeding tube in certain situations.

In general, living wills are used to give specific instructions to medical providers about the steps they should take, or they might also be used to give the power of decision making to someone you trust. They usually go into effect in a situation where you are not able to make medical decisions on your own.

Why Is A Living Will Important?

If you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to make your wishes known, the decision-making can fall to your family members, who might not know what they should do. It can be very stressful for your loved ones to have to make the decisions they think you would want, so having clear directives through a living will can make the situation a lot easier for them.

What Should I Keep In Mind If I Want to Create A Living Will?

If you are thinking about creating a living will, an experienced tax or estate-planning attorney will be a valuable asset to have. Living wills that are vague or have some sort of language that may seem contradictory can often lead to confusion.

The interpretation of a certain treatment or course of action might differ between you and a healthcare professional. Some healthcare professionals might have different interpretations about whether the condition you are in actually invokes the usage of a living will, and some of their actions could then go against your wishes. The right attorney will help you craft a document that will alleviate confusion and respect your wishes.

Arkansas Law stipulates that you must be of sound mind and be at least 18 years old if you wish to craft a living will. Our experienced Arkansas estate planning attorneys at Hyden, Miron, & Foster, PLLC will be able to help you interpret the laws in Arkansas governing living wills and advise you accordingly.  Call today at (501) 482-1787.


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