Category: Wills

Will and Trust: Comprehending the Differences Between Them

The terms “will” and “trust” are familiar and everyone has heard about them; however, not everyone understands the difference between the two.  Both are documents used for transferring assets, but they serve different purposes.

Although these two terms are often confused, wills and trusts are very different in several crucial ways.

When Each Takes Effect

One of the most significant differences between a will and a trust is the trust takes effect as soon as you create it. A will goes into effect only after the death of the individual who wrote it (the testator).  

A will is a document that distinguishes who will receive the testator’s property at his death and it always includes a legal representative to carry out the testator’s wishes. With a trust, however, you can begin distributing wealth before death, at death and afterward.

They Cover Different Properties

A will only govern the disposition of property owned in the testator’s sole name, with interests in property included-for example, tenancy in common. It cannot and does not address assets that pass directly to a beneficiary by operation of law or by contract – such as joint tenancy with survivorship rights, insurance policies, etc.

When it comes to a living trust, it can govern and distribute any property. The person who creates the trust (also known as the grantor) transfers his assets into the trusts after it has been formed. These assets can include life insurance policies and tenancy (in common) interests.

Trusts Provide for Life and Death

A will doesn’t go into effect until the testator dies and does nothing to plan for mental disability because of it. If the testator becomes mentally incapacitated before death, his loved ones have to address the court and ask for a guardian or a conservator to handle his affairs.

You can write provisions of disability into a revocable living trust. It is a common type of trust, and it allows the grantor to act as the trustee during his lifetime, and manage the assets and property funded in the trust. He names someone of his choosing as a successor trustee, and this person takes over when the grantor dies. The successor trustee can either continue to manage the trust or settle it, depending on the terms listed by the grantor in his trust formation documents.

In case the grantor becomes mentally incapacitated, the successor trustee can step in and in this matter, there is no need for a court-appointed guardian or conservator.

Wills Require Probate

Transferring property under the terms of a person’s last will requires probate while passing property and assets under the conditions of a living trust avoids probate.  

The terms of a trust are in fact the mechanism by which the assets held by the trust can transfer to the other person. A trust can continue owning the property for the benefit of individual people, such as minor children who are still unable to take ownership of the property they’ve inherited legally.

A will becomes a matter of public records once it’s submitted for probate, while the terms of living trusts remain private.

Wills and trusts each have their benefits and disadvantages. Contact us to get more information so you can decide on the best way of using a will and a trust in your estate plan.

health care agent

How to Choose a Health Care Agent

No matter how much you plan for your future, you can’t know everything you may face and how you are going to deal with it. You may become ill or injured that may leave you incompetent. When this happens, you can not make a decision on your own behalf, so you’re forced to leave your health care in the palm of someone else’s hand. Your loved ones will do their best to make medical decisions for you but there is still a chance they could make a decision you would have disagreed too. By appointing a health care agent, you can undergo the medical treatment you wish to receive if you were to become incompetent.

What Is a Health Care Agent?

A health care agent is someone you choose to make medical decisions for you if you were to become unable to do so. For example, if you were to become too sick or too injured to communicate with others, your health care agent would make medical decisions on your behalf. You do not need to be an elder or terminally ill to begin thinking about naming a health care agent because a serious accident can happen at any time throughout your life. Your health care agent can ensure you get medical treatment that goes along with your values and beliefs.

You do not need to be an elder or terminally ill to begin thinking about naming a health care agent because a serious accident can happen at any time throughout your life.

What Are Health Care Agent Responsibilities?

Your health care agent may only make medical treatment decisions for you. They can’t make decisions on money or other legal issues. When you can’t make decisions for yourself, your health care agent will talk to your doctors and nurses about your wishes so they are taken into consideration when planning your treatment. Your agent will help ensure doctors follow your living will, but if you don’t have one, he or she will try and make decisions that you would make for yourself. This is why it’s important to discuss your thoughts about quality of life with your agent so they know what makes life worth living for you. It’s also a good idea to make sure your health care agent agrees to take on the responsibility so you get the medical care you wish for.  

When you can’t make decisions for yourself, your health care agent will talk to your doctors and nurses about your wishes so they are taken into consideration when planning your treatment.

How to Designate a Health Care Agent

Choosing a health care agent is important to ensure your wishes for your health care will be respected when your not able to speak for yourself. You want to make sure you choose someone who knows you very well and you could trust to be your agent. You can choose a secondary health care agent just in case your first choice is not able to show up. Make sure your agent knows and understands all your values, beliefs, and wishes so you get the proper care. It’s impossible to discuss every worst-case scenario that may arise but the more your healthcare knows about your preferences and what’s important to you, your agent will be better able to make decisions on your behalf.  

Every state has a document where you can appoint a health care agent. If you need help finding this form, Platinum Paralegals is here to help. They can also help you involve your health care agent with your living will so your agent fully understands your wishes. Call Platinum Paralegals™ at: (818) 839-6879 or send an email to: info@platinumparalegals.com.

Is a Revocable Living Trust Necessary?

A revocable living trust is a legal arrangement to hold ownership of your property throughout the course of your lifetime. The grantor is the creator of the trust and funds his trust with assets. Upon incapacitation or death, the successor trustee and the beneficiaries will receive the benefits of the trust. This living trust avoids probate which is a court-supervised process of dividing a person’s estate. A revocable living trust may be right for you if you would like to avoid probate for your trustee and beneficiaries. There are other scenarios where a revocable trust may be right for you which I will briefly discuss below.

What Does a Revocable Living Trust Do?

A revocable living trust is also sometimes called a living trust and it is a legal document created to hold ownership of an individual’s assets. This trust covers three phases of the trust maker’s  life: his lifetime, possible incapacitation and what happens after death. The person who forms the trust is called the grantor or trust maker but also can serve as the trustee. In most cases, the trustee will form the trust to control and manage the assets he or she placed there until death. Trust makers may also choose to have an attorney or an institution act as a trustee but it is uncommon with this type of trust. A revocable trust is not necessarily permanent so you can change your mind and the trust will be “undone.”

This trust covers three phases of the trust maker’s  life: his lifetime, possible incapacitation and what happens after death.

What Goes Into a Revocable Living Trust?

Thousands of people in California avoid having their estates go through the probate process because they choose to have a revocable living trust. This type of trust is more time and cost effective and it provides people control over their assets. Assets such as stocks, real estate, and bank accounts are all examples of what type of assets go into a revocable living trust. Who you are leaving your assets to should be created with a legal document with your living trust. Not only do you fund this trust with your assets but you also need to name an alternate trustee to manage your assets if you were unable to.

When Is a Revocable Living Trust Needed?

Transferring assets into a living trust can avoid time-consuming and costly court fees by preparing your estate for an easy transition after you die. You do not need to be wealthy to receive the benefits of a revocable living trust, but in some instances, it could be overkill. You can benefit from this type of trust if you own a business because your trustee can manage the business if you incapacitated or die. Also if you are concerned about privacy, a revocable living trust is a private document that doesn’t become a public court record. Only the successor trustees and the beneficiaries you have named may see a copy of your trust. When properly prepared, a living trust can provide for your spouse and children which may be important in second marriages. It saves estate taxes and can protect inheritances for children and grandchildren. If you can relate to any of these factors than you may need a revocable living trust.

Transferring assets into a living trust can avoid time-consuming and costly court fees by preparing your estate for an easy transition after you die.

What Happens to a Revocable Living Trust Upon Death?

Upon death, the successor trustee will step into your role as trustee or grantor of your trust. The beneficiaries you named in your trust documents will inherit from you and they will own the assets you placed in your trust according to the terms you decided when you made it. The assets you placed will not have to go through probate and your successor trustee will disburse your assets. The successor trustee must pay the taxes, debts, and costs of the trust operation from the assets you placed into it. If your successor trustee predeceases you, or if he or she dies before closing your trust, it’s possible your trust could be left unmanaged. States have their own laws on how to address these situations but generally, your heirs would have to have a successor trustee appointed by petitioning the court. Your beneficiaries have the right to suggest themselves or suggest their own choice.

 

 

For low cost, affordable paralegal assistance, call Platinum Paralegals™ at: (818) 839-6879 or send an email to: info@platinumparalegals.com.

Health Care Directive vs Living Will

Unexpected life threatening events happen all the time and are sometimes unavoidable. Some of these events leave us unconscious with no ability to speak. If this occurrence were to happen to you, wouldn’t you want a say in your course of treatment. Especially if it contradicted your view on what a quality life is. These documents called Advanced Health Care Directives, serve as a record of your medical preference, and help prevent anger or anxiety of loved ones having to grant your medical wish for you.

What Are Advanced Health Care Directives?

Advanced health care directives are fundamental documents that instruct your doctor or health care provider what kind of health care you do or do not want when you are unable to tell them yourself. These documents provide relief of decision making burdens to not only the caregivers, but also any people that care about your health and welfare. There are two main types of advanced directives, living will and medical power of attorney. It’s important for all adults to prepare for these documents because unexpected medical life situations can happen at any age at anytime.

These documents provide relief of decision making burdens to not only the caregivers, but also any people that care about your health and welfare.

 

What Is a Living Will?

A living will falls under the category of advance directives and spells out the type of medical care you wish to receive or don’t wish to receive when you are unresponsive. This will ensures your medical wishes are honored. Topics on resuscitation, quality of life, and end of life treatments should be written in this document so your doctor knows how to approach your treatment.

It’s important to go into specifics about your values and to address a number of different end-of- life situations realizing you can’t account for every possibility. Without a living will, doctors may ask a family member how to advance in your care and are legally obligated to perform procedures that you may not wish to have.

What Is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A healthcare power of attorney is appointed to make healthcare decisions on your behalf when you can’t communicate on your own. The appointed health care agent becomes your spokesman and advocate for the range of medical treatments you set out in your documents. This document can also be referred to as a health care proxy, appointment of a health care agent or durable power of attorney for healthcare.

This person should understand your quality of life and medical goals so they can carry out decisions with your feelings and values in mind. It’s very important to name an alternate agent incase the primary agent is not available, especially in a life threatening emergency.

Writing a Health Care Directive

To prepare your health care directive, you will need to follow these important steps:

  1. Get the living will and medical power of attorney forms for your state. Generally doctors will respect your wishes if you have a form from a different state.
  2. Choose a health care agent that you trust to make decisions for you and who understands all of your wishes. It is a good idea to appoint a alternative person as your agent if the 1st person is unwilling or unable to make decisions on your behalf.
  3. After filling out the forms, have them witnessed as your state requires.
  4. Give copies to your doctor, health care agent, and your family. Incase you need to modify or revoke the advcanded directive, note on the  advanced health care directive itself who you gave copies to.

If you find yourself in need of a health care directive, Platinum Paralegals can help. Get excellent legal advice for a fraction of the cost of an attorney’s fee. Platinum Paragels will call you back faster than an attorney who spends most their time in a courtroom. If you are seeking general advice about health care directives, get in touch with us via phone or web form today!

 

Last Will And Testament

What Is a Pour Over Will?

Although thinking about death is often difficult, the fact is that making provisions for the distribution of your assets and the care of your loved ones is a vital part of estate planning. And the more complex your assets are, the more important it is to have a well-thought-out estate plan. Deciding what type of will you need can be a challenge, but for those with a large estate or living trust, a pour over will can save significant time in probate (as well as save your loved ones emotional distress).

What is a Pour Over Will?

In short, this type of will is one that creates a “safety net.” Essentially, this type of will states that if you have any property that has not been placed in a living trust, it must be sent to that trust when you die. This is a safety net because it ensures that, if you forget to direct any of your property to your living trust before your death, that property will be directed there.

Essentially, this type of will states that if you have any property that has not been placed in a living trust, it must be sent to that trust when you die.

Does a Pour Over Will Need to Be Notarized?

While notarization is an option, not all of these wills need to be notarized. If you are asking “Does a pour over will need to be notarized?” you may be surprised to know that, generally speaking, wills must be witnessed, but not necessarily notarized.

However, one of these wills that has been notarized may be considered to be self-proving, meaning that witnesses do not need to be found later by the court.

How Is a Pour Over Will Different Than a Trust?

This type of will is different than a trust in the sense that it needs to work with a trust. If you’re asking “What is a pour over will?” you may not realize that this type of will essentially works to make sure that everything you intended to go into the trust goes there.

With this type of will, it is ensured that your estate’s executor will determine who receives the assets that are “poured” into the trust in the event of your death. By contrast, if your assets are not put into your trust, state law will be used to determine which of your beneficiaries receives them.

Does a Pour Over Will Avoid Probate?

Estate planning diagram

Asking “Does a pour over will avoid probate?” is a logical question, since it would seem that anything that is poured back to the trust would not need to be probated. However, while assets passed into your living trust during your lifetime avoid probate, assets that are poured in will still need to pass through probate.

However, while this may delay the distribution of your assets, it still may be preferable to the alternative, which is using state law (and not your estate’s executor) to determine what goes to whom. If you want to ensure that your assets go to certain people, then taking the time to create this type of will along with your trust is well worth it.

Whether or not you need this type of will is a personal decision, although, generally speaking, having one if you have a trust is a good idea. If you are getting together a will or estate plan and find yourself in need of assistance, give Platinum Paralegals a call.

We are able to offer you quality legal guidance at a fraction of the cost of an attorney. Additionally, our paralegals can be reached 24/7, so you don’t have to worry about waiting long hours for an attorney to contact you after you call.

Expensive Divorce

Inexpensive Vs Expensive States for Getting a Divorce

Most people, when they say “I do,” envision being happily married forever. And while that may well be the case for some, many marriages ultimately end in divorce. We all know that divorce is usually rife with emotional turmoil, but it can also be the catalyst for financial turmoil as well. Divorcing your spouse can be incredibly expensive, with some estimates placing the cost of divorce at $15,000 or more.

Those who are just beginning to explore the possibility of divorce may find themselves asking “What is the cost of a divorce?” before anything. However, adding to the complexity of divorce is the fact that some states are significantly more expensive than others when it comes to divorce. And while it may seem unilaterally better to be in an inexpensive state, there are pros and cons to each.

Pros of Inexpensive States

One of the pros of living in a state where divorce prices are inexpensive is the fact that your divorce, regardless of complexity, will likely be less expensive than it would be in a more expensive state. Particularly if you’re short on funds, you should have less of a difficult time finding a lawyer who provides the services you need for a price you can afford. Because the baseline cost of divorce in these states is lower, even some of the most affordable lawyers will likely be able to provide excellent service for even the most inexpensive divorce.

Cons of Inexpensive States

Cheap Divorce

If you live in a state where the base cost of divorce is low, you’re likely in luck – an inexpensive divorce may well be in your future. However, in these states, you may soon realize that, if you want to hire an excellent lawyer or one who provides additional services, you will still need to pay more. It’s important to realize that analyses of cost of divorce per state look at averages, so many of the most acclaimed lawyers (or those who go above and beyond the minimum

Pros of Expensive States

You may wonder how a state with some of the highest divorce prices has any pros when it comes to pursuing a divorce. However, a possibly surprising upside to divorcing in a state with a high average cost of divorce is the fact that many of these states have legal or paralegal firms who are more than happy to work with you for a much lower cost.

For instance, Platinum Paralegals will beat any competitor’s advertised price when it comes to divorce proceedings. We understand that divorce is stressful enough. And with California being one of the most expensive states to divorce, we realize that sometimes, those seeking a divorce need an economical alternative to popular divorce lawyers.

Cons of Expensive States

If your funds are limited and you live in a state where divorce is expensive, chances may be good that you can’t afford divorce. While there generally are options available for those who need to divorce but can’t afford it, even pursuing these options can cause significant stress on top of the realization that you and your spouse need a divorce. Making any divorce an expensive divorce is enough to make anyone panic.

While there generally are options available for those who need to divorce but can’t afford it, even pursuing these options can cause significant stress on top of the realization that you and your spouse need a divorce. Making any divorce an expensive divorce is enough to make anyone panic.

Even if you can afford an expensive divorce, pursuing one in a state where divorce is more expensive may still cause some financial hardship. If you are concerned about cost, investigating lower-cost divorce options may be helpful.

No matter where you live, divorce can be a headache. And if you’ve just begun asking “what is the cost of a divorce?” it is likely a good idea to start thoroughly evaluating your options. If you are unsure of where to begin, give Platinum Paralegals a call!

What Is a Holographic Will?

What Is a Holographic Will?

For many people, the thought of passing away and leaving loved ones to manage their estate is a somewhat scary thought. In order to alleviate anxiety around this possibility, many people opt to create a will. While there are several types of wills to choose from, some people opt for a holographic will, or a will that is entirely handwritten and signed by the testator, or creator of the will.

Is a Holographic Will Needed?

Generally speaking, a holographic will is more likely to end up argued over in court when compared to other will types. If you are someone with significant assets or someone whose estate is especially complex, it may be best to choose a different will type to ensure that your assets are distributed as you intended. If you find yourself asking “what is a holographic will?” it may be helpful to briefly familiarize yourself with different will types

If you are someone with significant assets or someone whose estate is especially complex, it may be best to choose a different will type to ensure that your assets are distributed as you intended.

However, if your will is fairly simple, or if you have no means to pay for an attorney or other legal assistance, a holographic will may be your best choice. Now that you’ve answered the question “what is a holographic will?”, it may be best to enlist legal help in order to determine whether this is the best will type for you.

Does a Holographic Will Need to Be Witnessed?

What Is a Good Holographic Will?

Whether or not your holographic will needs to be notarized depends on a few things. And while you may be asking “does a holographic will need to be witnessed?” there isn’t always a simple answer.Some states may require that two disinterested individuals (people who don’t stand to benefit from the will) witness the signing.

However, for states that don’t require the signing of a holographic will to be witnessed, it is often necessary to have two people testify in court that the handwriting and signature is that of the testator. Generally speaking, it may be less complicated to have the signing of the will witnessed, since proving the will is yours may not always be possible in court. Having witnesses may be able to speed up the distribution of your assets as well.

How to Notarize a Holographic Will

In general, a holographic will does not need witness signatures. However, in order to reduce the likelihood of your will being disputed in court, it may be helpful to have witnesses when you sign. Choosing two disinterested people to watch you sign is best, and it also is a good idea to have these people sign the will with you. This will generally speed up the probate process, which can make things easier on a deceased person’s loved ones.

Why You Need a Holographic Will

A holographic will is often the easiest type of will to create, and some states do not require a will of this type to be notarized. In some cases, simply creating a holographic will that is legible and organized is enough. However, state laws vary when it comes to the acceptability of holographic wills. They are legally recognized in California, but if you live in a different state, it is vital to check and see whether a holographic will is legally acceptable where you live.

One thing you can do to reduce the risk of a holographic will failing in probate is to create a self-proving affidavit, or form that verifies that you are the testator of the will. While these forms aren’t required in California, those in other states may find the creation of a self-proving affidavit to be useful.

Whether you are planning on creating a holographic will and just need guidance, or you aren’t sure what type of will to create, Platinum Paralegals can help. Our paralegals can help you plan and draft a will at a fraction of the cost of hiring an attorney. With paralegal assistance, you can be assured that your last will is clear and legally acceptable so your loved ones will be taken care of after your death. Give us a call today!

Living Will

What Is the Difference Between a Trust and a Will?

There is a common saying in the legal profession that if you have one dollar and two relatives that you need to consider estate planning. The most common methods involve wills and trusts. The following addresses common questions that we get from clients as they start the estate planning process, such as:

What Is a Will?

A will is a formal legal document that outlines your wishes for how your property should be distributed upon your death. Wills may also address who will be responsible for caring for your minor children in the event of your death. Typically, a will is a formal document that is signed by you in the presence of witnesses. Some jurisdictions will recognize a handwritten will made outside the presence of witnesses; however, the validity of this type of will may not hold up if challenged in court.

What Is a Trust?

A trust differs from a will in that it goes into effect immediately upon its creation and allows you to distribute property before, at, or after your death. A trustee, usually a trusted individual or an institution, holds the legal title to the property on behalf of the named beneficiary. The beneficiary will receive income from the trust during their life or upon meeting certain criteria, such as reaching a specified age. A secondary beneficiary is also normally named to receive any remaining proceeds from the trust upon the death of the primary beneficiary.

When Do I Need a Will?

Virtually everyone needs a will. If you die without a will, the state will determine how your assets are distributed according to a statutory formula. The state would also determine guardianship of any minor children. This can create hardships for surviving family members and open the door for protracted legal battles in the event of a family disagreement.

Virtually everyone needs a will. If you die without a will, the state will determine how your assets are distributed according to a statutory formula. The state would also determine guardianship of any minor children.

When Do I Need a Living Will?

A living will, sometimes referred to as an advanced directive, specifies the type of life-sustaining medical care that you would want to receive in the event that you at not able to communicate your wishes. Through this document, you can let your family know if you wish to have your life prolonged through tube feeding, assisted breathing, or other measures. Although normally considered by individuals facing terminal illnesses, every adult should consider having a living will so that family members and health care providers will know your wishes in the event of an unexpected life-threatening injury or illness.

Should I Get a Living Trust?

Living Trust

A living trust is a good option if you do not want your property to have to go through the probate process when you die. Trusts are also much more difficult to challenge than wills. If you have considerable assets, a revocable living trust may also help you avoid or reduce the estate tax liability for your heirs.

Where Can I Get a Will Notarized?

Most banks, law offices, and courthouses have notaries on site.

How Do I Obtain a Will or Trust?

To ensure that your will or trust meets all of the legal requirements for the jurisdiction where you live, it is best to enlist the services of a legal professional. Contact Platinum Paralegals today to find out more about our estate planning services.

Getting a Durable Power of Attorney vs Getting a Living Will

Getting a Durable Power of Attorney vs Getting a Living Will

Nobody wants to think about becoming incapacitated. But if you are at all concerned about making healthcare decisions or managing finances should you suffer a severe accident or illness, then creating a living will and getting a power of attorney are two ways to prepare for the unthinkable.

Request a Free Consultation with Platinum Paralegals > 

However, many people do not fully understand the difference between designating a power of attorney and the creation of a will. While a will outlines your wishes for end-of-life care, it does not designate a person to make healthcare or financial decisions for you.

By contrast, a power of attorney that is durable means that the person you designate may make decisions for you, should you become incapacitated. You may designate a durable power of attorney for healthcare, one for finances, or both.

Getting a Durable Power of Attorney against Getting a Living Will

Below are some of the pros and cons of each – this comparison of durable power of attorney vs living will may help you decide which option is best for you.

Pros of Getting a Durable Power of Attorney

Getting a power of attorney can be an excellent way to make sure that, should you become unable to manage your health or finances for any reason, you have a way to ensure your affairs are managed. If you choose a power of attorney for finances, that person can ensure that your bills are paid, your health premiums are up to date, and any other financial issues you have are handled appropriately.

If you choose a power of attorney for finances, that person can ensure that your bills are paid, your health premiums are up to date, and any other financial issues you have are handled appropriately.

If you choose a power of attorney for healthcare, you have the advantage of knowing that, should you become unable to make medical decisions, you will have someone you trust deciding what care is best for you.

Cons of Getting a Durable Power of Attorney

As noted above, while the durable power of attorney vs living will difference may seem slight, getting a power of attorney has several advantages. And while it can be comforting to know that somebody you trust is making your medical decisions, the disadvantage is that you cannot know for certain whether your power of attorney will make the same decisions that you would.

Pros of Getting a Living Will

A will is an excellent idea if you have definite preferences or plans for the way you want medical decisions made if you are unable to make your own decisions. A will also can dictate how you want your finances to be handled.

Getting a Durable Power of Attorney other than Getting a Living Will

One of the main advantages of having a will is that you can outline exactly how you want your healthcare and/or financial decisions handled. But in making the durable power of attorney vs living will comparison, it is important to understand that, when you have a power of attorney, you entrust key decisions to another person.

Cons of Getting a Living Will

At first glance while making the comparison of durable power of attorney vs living will, a will may seem ideal – you can outline exactly how you want your affairs handled in the event you become incapacitated. However, in practice, the wording of wills is often a bit vague. And no matter how thoroughly you think you’ve planned, there’s always the chance that you will run into a situation you haven’t planned for. Essentially, while wills may be able to cover the majority of situations, there is always a chance you will run into an issue that the will does not cover.

Request a Free Consultation with Platinum Paralegals > 

In summary, while a will and a power of attorney accomplish similar goals, it is vital that you understand the durable power of attorney vs living will difference before you choose whether you would like to set up one, both, or neither. And making the comparison of a durable power of attorney vs living will may be difficult, as nobody wants to imagine becoming medically incapacitated. However, with one or more of these in place, you will be able to rest assured that, should the unthinkable happen, your affairs will be taken care of.

What Is a Living Will?

No one enjoys thinking about the possibility of serious medical emergency situations, but planning ahead for these types of unforeseen occurrences is important. It can provide peace of mind to know that there are legal policies in place to protect your wishes should you be in a situation that leaves you unable to speak up for yourself.

If you’ve ever felt concerned about being in a situation that leaves you powerless to make important medical decisions, you may have asked yourself, “What is a living will and do I need one?” The paragraphs below will discuss the definition of a living will, as well as the benefits of a living will. This will help you determine whether this type of legal document could benefit you in protecting your medical wishes and rights down the line.

The Definition of a Living Will

Have you ever asked yourself the question, “What is a living will?” Protecting your medical rights and wishes now while you are able-bodied can offer you peace of mind and a measure of security. Taking steps now to ensure your wishes are upheld can also ease the burden experienced by loved ones who are left to make important decisions about your healthcare. Let’s define a living will, one of the types of legal documents that can assist you in ensuring your medical wishes are upheld in emergency situations.

Taking steps now to ensure your wishes are upheld can also ease the burden experienced by loved ones who are left to make important decisions about your healthcare.

A living will is a written legal document that states your medical preferences in situations where you are unable to make informed decisions for yourself. If you are in an accident that leaves you in a coma or otherwise unable to make vital decisions on the spot, a living will can let those in charge of your medical care know your preferences regarding comfort, end-of-life procedures, pain management, life support, and other important issues.

How Can a Living Will Benefit You?

Now that we have briefly described a living will definition, let’s cover some of the benefits that this document can provide. If you ever find yourself terminally ill or seriously injured to the degree that you cannot make important decisions regarding your medical care on your own, a living will can direct your medical team to act in a manner that abides by your specific wishes and ideals. A living will can address any of the following topics that may arise in emergency medical situations.

Resuscitation – Having your heart restarted by artificial means if it stops beating

Mechanical ventilation – Having a machine breathe for you if you are unable to breathe on your own

Tube feeding – Being fed nutrients through a gastro-nasal tube if you are unable to eat unassisted

Dialysis – Having a machine cleanse your blood if your kidneys are unable to perform the task on their own

Palliative Care – How you want to be kept comfortable if the end of your life is approaching

Organ and Tissue Donation – Ensuring your organs are donated upon your death if you desire for them to be

If you feel strongly about any particular topic regarding your health care or end of life decisions , it makes sense to be sure the topic is addressed in detail in your living will.

How To Go About Getting a Living Will

Now that we have discussed a living will definition and the benefits that living wills can provide, you may be asking how you can go about getting one completed. Living wills are valid legal documents, so they must be completed under the supervision of a lawyer or other legal professional. These individuals are experienced in drafting a living will in the proper manner to ensure that your wishes are upheld no matter what situation you may find yourself in down the line. Contact a qualified and experienced legal professional for assistance on getting your living will completed.

Request a Free Consultation with Platinum Paralegals > 

When thinking ahead to the future, it’s always wise to plan for unforeseen medical emergencies . While thinking about these types of things is never pleasant, having the peace of mind that your wishes will always be fulfilled can lift a tremendous weight of burden off your shoulders. The paragraphs above helped to define a living will and outline the important benefits of a living will so that you can decide whether this legal document can be of assistance to you. Please contact our offices if you would like to discuss living wills in more detail.