A living will, also called an advance health care directive or advance medical directive, establishes your wishes regarding medical treatment and life-sustaining procedures. It is a critical estate planning tool that empowers you to make important end-of-life decisions and keeps your loved ones from having to guess about those choices. In essence, it will ensure that your voice is heard if you are unable to speak for yourself.
A living will can be customized to reflect your exact choices for what you want to happen in the narrow set of circumstances when you cannot communicate your own decisions, you have been medically certified as having a terminal condition or being in a persistent vegetative state, and the doctors certify that there is nothing more that they can do to improve your condition. A living will may be amended or revoked at any time and may need to be updated if your life circumstances or wishes change.
At Tolison & Williams, Attorneys at Law, LLC, an Adams County living wills lawyer will provide experienced legal guidance to help you develop a comprehensive estate plan, including living wills. I will strive to ensure that you feel comfortable with all aspects of your estate plan. My goal is to help you and your loved ones understand the tools you have put in place. I am passionate about empowering clients to take control over important life decisions.
A living will goes into effect only under very specific circumstances. First, it must be documented that you are unable to express your decisions yourself. Second, the doctor(s) must certify that you are in a coma or a persistent vegetative state. Third, the doctor(s) must certify that your condition is terminal, meaning there is nothing else they can do to improve your condition. In such a situation, if you have chosen to forgo life-sustaining measures, you will still receive palliative care to ease any suffering.
In addition to a living will, a health care power of attorney is an important tool in which you can designate a trusted individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. An agent under health care power of attorney will work with your living will and will likely be the person to implement it if necessary. Therefore, it is important to work with an attorney to make sure that your choices are properly documented and your health care agent's authority clearly stated. Both documents are an important part of an estate plan and should complement each other to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
Please call me at 800-331-0745 to arrange a consultation. My office is located in Brighton, Colorado.