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What is a Living Will?

Denver Living WillWhat is the difference between a traditional will and a living will?  These documents serve vastly different purposes as explained below:

  • Traditional will: a legal document in which you designate how you want your property (estate) divided after you die. This document can also outline how you want your dependents or pets cared for after you die.
  • Living will: a legal document in which you designate what type of medical care you wish to receive if you become incapacitated for any reason and are unable to relay your wishes to your family, friends and doctors.

The term living will basically describes if or how you want to remain living under a doctor’s care and whether or not you want doctors to do everything medically possible to sustain your life. This can include:

  • CPR measures
  • Feeding tubes to supply adequate nutrition
  • Ventilator breathing assistance
  • Medication or procedures to decrease pain and suffering
  • Extraordinary measures to sustain life at all costs

These do not have to be yes-and-no decisions: you can state that you want certain measures performed for a specific amount of time and then stopped.

Beyond Life-Saving Decisions

When completing your living will you can also select if you want to be an organ or tissue donor upon your death.  Your Denver estate planning attorney will also prepare a medical power of attorney to work in conjunction with your living will.  Your medical power of attorney will select a person to make your medical decisions in the event that you are unable.  Your agent under medical power of attorney is very important: this person needs to be trustworthy and mentally strong enough to make the toughest decisions on your behalf – even if your loved ones do not agree with your wishes.

Share Your Living Will Decisions in Advance

You can help reduce the risk of family disputes over your medical care by sharing your wishes with your loved ones and your doctor at the time you create your living will. Try to make them realize that you have their best interests at heart when making these decisions – your goal is to spare them from having to decide when and how to let you go if that time should arise.

The Denver living will lawyers at The Brown Law Firm LLC can talk you through the living will process and draft the appropriate forms to complete. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online.