There are a lot of details to work out when it is time to consider plans for the end of life. Many people put off this task because it's difficult to think about. One way to approach the issue is to consider one's own preferences when dealing with the end of life. Often, a living will is a key element in an estate plan.
What is a living will?
A living will is not a will in the same sense as a traditional will that lists the desired disposition of assets after death. It involves the preferences that a person may have about the end of life. A living will lists these preferences so that family and caretakers know what to do if the person isn't able to make their wishes known in their final days.
What does a living will include?
A living will includes wishes for any procedure that may extend life. This may be life-prolonging medical procedures like a respiration machine or feeding tube.
What are the requirements for a valid living will?
A person must be competent to express their wishes at the time they create a living will. The document must be signed in the presence of witnesses who are not related to the writer. A person may always revoke a living will as long as they're still competent.
It is usually worthwhile to retain an attorney to assist with all aspects of estate planning. Legal representation is often a good idea to insure the clarity of living wills and other documents that make up an estate plan.