There comes a point in time when a wise person begins to think about planning for the inevitable — the possibility of being ill, needing assistance to manage their life, and eventually death. For some, that time of reflection occurs when they get married, start a family, accumulate wealth and property, are diagnosed with a life-changing illness, or retire. There are so many aspects of planning one’s estate it is difficult to know where to begin. How do you find a lawyer? What should you look for in a lawyer? Is it necessary to have a living will attorney, or will the family lawyer be able to develop a comprehensive estate plan?
What Is A Living Will And Why Is It Important To Have One?
A living will provides an opportunity to include medical directives for a person’s care in the event that they become seriously ill or are unable to make decisions for themselves. An estate planning attorney, when drafting a living will, can create a document that describes in detail the wishes of the individual should they become incapacitated, including options related to prolonging their life, terminal illness, and the use of life-sustaining treatment for conditions considered terminal, irreversible, or incurable.
Having a living will relieves family members from having to make heart-wrenching decisions when they are in anguish over the health condition of their loved one. A physician does not need to approach a relative to make a quick life-and-death decisions, if their patient is unable to do so, when the patient has left directives. Everything is spelled out in a living will and often the documents deals with questions regarding feeding, breathing tubes, and the use of life support and life-sustaining medical treatments.
Characteristics Of A Living Will
A living will can be modified or revoked at any time, if the person is still capable of doing so. Another characteristic is that a living will only becomes effective when the person named in the will becomes incapable of making medical decisions and has a specific medical condition as defined by state law.
Each time someone is admitted to a hospital, the medical staff is required to ask them if they have any advance directives, including a living will. It is a good idea to bring a copy of these documents when you are admitted to a hospital to ensure that your medical records have the most recent and accurate information about your preferences regarding health care decisions. Providing your Living Will and Health Care Surrogate or other Advanced Medical Directives to your physician or family doctor, for their file, is a highly recommended idea.
Selecting The Right Living Will Lawyer
One way to find estate planning lawyers is to ask friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors for recommendations. Another option is to contact the local bar association to ask if they offer a legal referral service to identify wills attorneys. The local hospital may have resources available that explain all of the factors involved in creating the necessary documentation for a living will.
After obtaining information about living wills and developing questions specific to your situation, the next step is to contact a lawyer. Some of the best law firms for wills can be found in Tampa, Florida. Once you have recommendations and an understanding about the purpose of a living will, you can begin the process of creating a living will.
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