If you are in an accident and are placed on life support, would you prefer doctors to undertake every measure possible to keep you alive or take you off life support when nothing more can be done? How would you like any pain to be managed? How long would you prefer to receive treatment at the end of your life? In the event you cannot make medical decisions for yourself, who would you like to make them for you?

While these questions may not be at the forefront of your mind, they are important to consider no matter what stage in life you are currently at. Creating a living will is one way to organize these thoughts into detailed instructions, so you can rest assured you will be cared for according to your wishes. A living will is part of your estate plan that can serve as a guide for you and your loved ones during a time of crisis.

Let us share with you some common questions many of our clients ask us about living wills so you can consider whether it is a good fit for your estate planning needs.

What is a living will?

A living will is the most-commonly used name for the legal document that sets forth your wishes for your end-of-life care. The living will does not take effect until you are determined to be unable to make medical decisions for yourself and facing a condition such as a terminal illness of persistent vegetative state.

Can I change or update the provisions of a living will?

One of the primary benefits of creating a living will or any of your estate planning is flexibility. Although there are estate planning tools that are irrevocable, the living will is not one of these documents. At any point as long as you have capacity, you can update or change the instructions provided in the living will with your estate planning attorney.

When should I create a living will?

It is never too early to start planning. Unfortunately, accidents and illnesses can occur at any time. Whether you are 18 or 80, establishing a solid estate plan that you are comfortable with is imperative. Not only will you feel more comfortable knowing who will carry out your wishes, but your loved ones will not be subjected to the stress of making difficult decisions for you without knowing your wishes.

There are many questions to be asked and factors to be considered when creating your estate plan. As always, we are here to be a resource for you. If this article left you with more questions than answers, do not hesitate to contact our law firm and schedule a meeting with Attorney Alan Hougum to discuss your estate planning questions.