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Do you need to create a living will?

Living wills are an important part of many carefully considered estate plans. In broad strokes, a living will establishes the end-of-life wishes of the document's creator in the event that he or she loses the ability to communicate or faces some life-threatening ailment and can no longer make decisions with a clear mind.

Many living wills include appointment of some specific individual who is responsible for advocating on the will creator's behalf. This is often very useful, especially because so many end-of-life decisions are nuanced and require careful consideration protect both an unresponsive or incapacitated individual and that person's loved ones.

Without some specific documentation, a physician treating a patient who is incapacitated or unresponsive may face conflict with family members and other loved ones about how to proceed with treatment or other options. In many cases, a physician who must determine advantageous care options without any guidance may avoid some course of action out of personal preference or desire to limit liability in risky circumstances. Clearly, this may compromise the wishes of the incapacitated individual who cannot clearly communicate.

If you believe that a living will is right for you, an experienced attorney can discuss your options and protect your interests. If you choose to wait to create this important tool, you may never get around to it, placing yourself in danger and burdening the ones you love. With professional guidance from an experienced attorney, you can protect yourself and the ones you love by communicating your end-of-life wishes clearly.

Source: Findlaw, "Should You Consider a Living Will?," accessed Dec. 29, 2017

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