About Living Wills And Health Care Proxy

  • By Arcadier, Biggie & Wood, PLLC
  • 201

Estate Planning Lawyer

You may or may not have ever heard of a living will before. Perhaps you are asking yourself what a living will is, whether you need to write one, and where you should put this important document once you are done writing it. A living will is a document that is enforceable by law, and outlines your wishes for medical care if you were to become incapacitated for any reason. If you are unable to communicate for yourself in that moment, a living will allow your closest loved ones to speak on your behalf.

So do you need to write a living will? If you are someone who is of adult age, then yes. Illness or injury can occur at any time, and it’s best to be prepared just in case. For instance, you can appoint a healthcare proxy to make medical choices for you if you are incapacitated. A living will instructs what you want to happen in specific situations, but a health care proxy is granted authority to make decisions as they see appropriate. For this reason, you must choose a proxy that has your best of interest at heart and can handle this responsibility. Anyone who needs guidance as they write their living will or other estate plan documents, should meet with a legal team for assistance, according to our friends at the Law Group of Iowa.

An example of a preference you could include in your living will is not wanting life saving actions to be performed if something happened to you and your heart stopped. Similarly, you could state that you prefer to only receive life support for a set period of time and then after that would want to be let go. As someone who may be healthy now, it may not be easy to picture all the different scenarios that could unfold, and what you would want for yourself if so. But ultimately, having this document means that you are taken care of as you would want and can alleviate the pressure from your loved ones having to make difficult decisions.

Once you have written your living will, you may be wondering where you should put it for safekeeping. As a living will lawyer explains, do not store them in a drawer, in your closet, or other location that cannot be readily found by your loved ones. It may even be a good idea to give certain family members a copy of the living will so in the event of an emergency, they have the information they need quickly. Some doctor’s offices may keep copies of living wills in their files if that is requested by the patient.

You may decide to meet with your family members, children, or other relatives ahead of time to prevent disagreements regarding how your care should proceed if the situation arises. While it is not necessary, you may want to encourage your health care proxy to give regular updates on your health as the circumstance unfolds to avoid hard feelings or misunderstandings.

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