During the estate planning process, many people confuse living wills with traditional wills. Generally speaking, traditional wills outline a person’s last wishes for what should occur with their assets following their death. Comparatively, living wills, which are also called advance or healthcare directives, allow people to state their decisions for care if they are ever unable to communicate their decisions. These documents have no power after a person dies.
Living wills must align with state-mandated requirements for witnesses and notarization, and these documents can be revoked at any time during a person’s life. These documents can also go into effect right after they are signed or with the stipulation of only being valid when the person can no longer communicate their wishes about medical treatment. Even if a living will goes into effect immediately, doctors will rely on personal communication for as long as possible.
In many cases, living wills are used in conjunction with a durable power of attorney for healthcare, and in others, they are combined into one document. What makes a healthcare power of attorney document different is that it names an agent or healthcare proxy to make decisions for the person in question.
A living will is a valuable component of any estate plan. If you would like to know more about drafting an enforceable living will or you want to begin the process, reach out to us at NorthPointe Law Group today.