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What is a living will?

| Feb 11, 2020 | Estate planning |

When most of us conceptualize the concept of “estate planning,” it is likely that we are thinking about legal paperwork that will come into effect after death. While this is a sobering thought, estate planning is necessary, and most of us recognize that. However, some aspects of estate planning may come into effect while you are still legally alive. A living will is one of these entities. According to US News & World Report, a living will allows you to put into writing wishes you may have if you are incapacitated and legally unable to advocate for your own wishes. 

Most pertinently, this has to do with end-of-life support. For instance, if you are in an accident and end up entirely incapacitated, you are not going to be able to directly tell medical staff how you would like this situation to be handled. Other situations where a living will may come into effect is if you have a stroke, or perhaps end up afflicted by a form of dementia. 

Living wills are not as necessary as other aspects of estate planning for many people. However, there are many advantages to having one in place. Namely, if you suspect that there will be disharmony after your potential incapacitation and your family will have a difficult time making decisions regarding your end-of-life care, you can make it easier by having a living will for them to follow. Even if you do not anticipate strife within your family, it can be difficult for your family members to make decisions about “pulling the plug” on their own. A living will can make this situation a little bit easier emotionally.