Wills and Trusts Law Firm Ridgefield, CT

A will is a legal document that gives directives on how you want things carried out after your death. It divides property and assets to those you name as beneficiaries. What, then, is a living will? While the name seems misleading, a living will is also a legal document that directs people on how to carry out particular wishes while you’re still alive but ill. Get a general understanding of what a living will does and how it works.

Advanced Medical Directive

Several names are interchangeable with a living will. Advanced directive and medical directive are both acceptable titles for documents that function in the same manner. Simply put, a living will tells healthcare providers how you want to live – or die – in situations where you are incapacitated and unable to make those decisions. It sets forth your vision of how you see your end-of-life medical care taking place. You can also direct medical staff to keep you comfortable and pain-free while you are alive. This is also known as palliative care.  Hospice is an example of this type of medical care.

Power of Attorney

If you meet with an estate planning lawyer to create a plan for before and after your death, one document which may get mentioned is a durable power of attorney. It gives a specific person the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you cannot. There are times when a durable power of attorney and a living will are combined into one document.

How a Living Will Functions

The trigger for a living will is your incapacitation due to a prolonged illness, surgery or sudden event such as an accident. If you are admitted to the hospital conscious, you will be asked if you have a medical directive or living will. If you indicate you don’t, they will ask if you would like to fill one out. In the event you are in an accident, the medical staff may ask your family if you have a written medical directive. Once the document is produced, the hospital staff will follow it. If there is a power of attorney, they will consult that person for all further ways to proceed with your care.

Some people don’t have a living will, and as such, the hospital looks to the family to direct your care. Therefore, having a living will is crucial if you want a say in the process. Get with a wills and trusts law firm in Ridgefield, CT from Sweeney Legal for the best guidance and advice under the laws of your home state.