Your estate plan will probably include several pieces or tools before it is complete. While you are working on yours, it is important not to overlook the usefulness of a living will, which is a little different from the “last will and testament” you might already know about.
The main purpose of a living will is to allow you to describe how you would like your healthcare treatments to look when you can’t make those decisions for yourself due to incapacitation. You can pre-decide what treatments you want, where you would like to live if you can’t stay at home, which medications you would like to avoid, and so forth. For anyone making an estate plan, a living will is bound to be an important part of it, which means you should know how to make one.
Basic Steps to Make a Living Will
Here’s what to do when making a living will for your estate plan:
- Consider your healthcare preferences: As mentioned, a living will focuses on pre-deciding your healthcare preferences so people know what to do when you can’t instruct them for one reason or another. A good starting point for your living will, then, is to think about those healthcare decisions. Key decisions will involve what to do in a medical emergency and your palliative care. This might be uncomfortable to think about, but you will be glad you got it out of the way, so your family doesn’t have to try to use their better guesses instead.
- Create a medical power of attorney: We suggest that you also create a medical power of attorney alongside your living will. Your medical POA can assign someone as your “healthcare agent,” who can make medical decisions for you that were not covered in your living will. Realistically, you’ll never be able to predict 100% of all possible medical scenarios in a living will, so having an agent as backup is helpful.
- Collect the forms: You need to right forms to create a living will, which are unique to your home state. You might be able to get the forms from an online resource, but it is not recommended. The safest way to make a usable living will that won’t have any legal issues is to let an estate planning lawyer assist you from start to finish.
- Complete and notarize: With the guidance of your estate planning attorney, you can fill out the right estate planning forms without leaving any accidental gaps or making any errors. When it is done, you have to sign it and have it notarized. You will probably need at least two other people there during the notarization, which could include your attorney and the notary.
- Secure the final living will: Time to lock up your living will and any copies that you have of it. Many people secure their living wills in their safety deposit boxes while also keeping a copy with their attorney. If your living will ever needs to be updated, then your attorney will be ready to review it without any complications of tracking it down.
Living Wills with Mark Martella
Do you live in Florida and need to create a living will as part of your estate plan? Come to The Dellutri Law Group, PA and work with Attorney Mark Martella, the firm’s primary estate planning lawyer. Thanks to his extensive experience with all matters related to estate planning, he can surely help you make a living will that best benefits you and your family. Contact our firm now to learn more.