Living will documents are some of the most important parts of your comprehensive estate plan. Living wills specify in advance what kinds of medical care you want in case a situation arises where you cannot communicate on treatment options. A Rutland, Vermont living will attorney can help you to create the necessary documents to have control over your own destiny when it comes to medical care.
Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC has provided legal advice and guidance to clients throughout Vermont on the creation of a living will. Our legal team understands the laws, knows how to ensure your living will is valid, and can provide you with advice as you make fundamentally important decisions about what should be included in your living will.
What Documents Should You Include in a Living Will?
A living will is also called an advanced directive. It is not a will intended to decide who should inherit your money, property, or other assets. Instead, a living will is focused specifically on what kinds of extraordinary medical care and life-saving treatments you want in case something happens to you.
There are many situations where people with a terminal illness or a life-changing injury are kept alive with extreme medical interventions. While some people want every possible technique used to save or prolong their lives, there are also many people who place a very high premium on quality of life and who would not want to kept alive attached to machines or otherwise facing signifiant impairment.
The decision of when you want extraordinary measures used to prolong your life, and when you don’t, is a deeply personal one. Unfortunately, the time when this decision needs to be made often happens when you are already incapacitated. If you’ve been in a terrible accident and have been left in a coma, for example, you cannot communicate what you want to happen if you experience complications or if it turns out a brain injury from the accident would leave you with significant cognitive impairment.
Since you cannot actually communicate your choices on medical care once you are incapacitated, a living will is a tool that you use to outline your choices before tragedy strikes. Vermont.gov provides a comprehensive example of a long-form advanced directive or living will. While you can find forms like this online, you should make sure you get legal advice before you complete any paperwork so you can ensure your living will is comprehensive and is enforceable.
Some of the different things which you may wish to include in your living will include:
- A Do Not Resuscitate order if you do not wish for medical care providers to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you stop breathing or if your heart stops beating. CRP is the default response of a medical care team if you do not have a DNR.
- Provisions regarding artificial nutrition or hydration so you can specify if you wish a feeding tube to be used to provide nutrition if you cannot eat on your own.
- Details regarding whether you want to be kept alive with machines breathing for you or if you have sustained significant and permanent cognitive damage.
- A healthcare proxy to name someone who can make decisions on your behalf in situations where you have not specified treatment preferences in advance and where you cannot communicate.
The more comprehensive your living will, the more control you are going to have over the kinds of medical care provided to you in an emergency situation. An attorney can provide assistance in determining what your plan should include and in creating a legally enforceable living will. While this is important for seniors, and for people who have a serious medical condition, everyone of all ages should strongly consider the creation of an advanced directive.
You need to have an advanced directive no matter your age so you get to make the choice regarding a balance between quality of life and longevity of life. You also need an advanced directive so you do not put your family into a situation where they are unsure of who makes choices on your behalf or where they disagree over whether you’d want a particular medical intervention. Incapacity can happen at any time, and you owe it to yourself and to those you love to have an advanced plan. You should get started creating your living will today before it is too late.
How Can a Rutland Incapacity Planning Lawyer Help With Your Living Will
To learn more about living wills, join us for a free seminar or contact us to get personalized advice that is tailored to your situation. You can give us a call at (802) 879-7133 or contact us online today so we can get started on protecting your future.
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