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Understanding Living Wills

Estate planning isn’t just about having a will—though that’s certainly an important first step! It’s also not just about determining who gets what once you die—though again, that’s part of the equation. There’s actually a lot of further complexity to the estate planning process, including guardianship of children, and a number of other documents you should consider to ensure you’re prepared for whatever the future brings.

For example, you may or may not be familiar with living wills. We recommend looking into these important estate planning documents, and speaking with a living wills attorney in California to determine whether you should have one in place.

What is a Living Will?

Let’s start by getting some basic definitions out of the way: What is a living will? Basically, a living will is something you put into place to ensure that your wishes are met if you ever become incapacitated, fall into a coma, wind up in a vegetative state, etc.

More formally, a living will is a healthcare directive to physicians, telling them your end-of-life wishes and guaranteeing you receive the proper kind of care, even if you’re not physically able to voice your wishes.

A key point to make about living wills: They lose effect upon your death.

Establishing a Living Will

This isn’t necessarily a pleasant topic to think about, but it is an important one. After all, most of us have a pretty clear idea of what we’d want to happen to us should we become incapacitated. A living will presents the best legal option for making those wishes known.

Creating a living will means talking through some potential wishes and scenarios with a living wills attorney in California, such as Singh Law Firm. Reach out to us and we can begin walking you through this important process.

The Hows and Whys

Most states will allow you to lay out your end-of-life wishes in as much or as little detail as you want. For example, one of the most common provisions is to request that palliative care (anything that decreases pain and suffering) be administered; you can simultaneously request that “extraordinary measures,” such as CPR, not be administered in select instances.

Note that, in order for your living will to be legally valid, it has to meet the state requirements for witnesses and notarization; and, your living will can be revoked at any time. Ask your attorney for more information on either issue.

Legal Documents and Healthcare

In many instances, you will want to have a living will in conjunction with other healthcare-related legal documents. One example is the Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney. This document allows you to appoint someone, such as a spouse or grown-up son or daughter, to be your legal representative/healthcare proxy should you ever become incapacitated, making key medical decisions on your behalf.

Again, ask your attorney about these documents, and how they relate to wills and trusts in California.

Estate Planning and the Hereafter

Estate planning isn’t just about who gets what. It’s about planning and preparing for an uncertain future. And that certainly means clarifying any wishes you have about end-of-life medical care—through living wills and living trusts.

It’s important that you consider estate planning from every angle, and have all the documents that you need. To learn more about different types of wills and trusts in California, we invite you to contact us today. Singh Law Firm can walk you through the process of putting a living will into place. Reach out today to start a conversation about living wills in California.

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