While much of the attention about the COVID-19 pandemic has been focused on those who passed away, there has also been increased attention on those who survived the illness after suffering severe symptoms. Many of these people had no plans in place to deal with the possibility they might be incapacitated, and by the time they became sick, it was too late. For these people, a living will may have saved them a great deal of stress. Here are five ways a living will may benefit you:
- You can let people know what your wishes are
- A living will is a document that can be used to describe what sorts of medical procedures you will, or will not, consent to, if you can no longer do so yourself. This is useful to ensure both your loved ones and your doctors know what your wishes are, in the event that you become incapacitated. It is also considered legally binding, meaning they legally cannot defy your living will once you have it in place.
- You can make sure your doctors don’t go around you
- Without a living will, your doctors may make decisions about your care that you would not agree to if you were able to communicate your wishes. With a living will in place, however, your doctors are bound by the terms you put into place. This ensures you receive the kind of care you would want, on your own terms.
- You can avoid undesired medical procedures
- One of the most common uses of a living will is to convey a Do Not Resuscitate order, sometimes referred to as a DNR. This prevents doctors from reviving you if your heart or breathing stops. Another commonly seen part of living wills is a Do Not Intubate order, which tells them not to intubate you. With these and other similar provisions, you can ensure you are not subjected to medical procedures you would not want.
- You can convey wishes about other medical issues
- A living will is not just about saying what medical procedures you would consent to. It can also let other people know about your wishes with other important medical issues, such as whether you would want to be placed on palliative care, or whether you would consent to organ donation. This can ensure your end-of-life care, and your treatment after you pass away, goes the way you want.
- You can can use it as part of a greater estate plan
- A living will is only one tool available to people planning their estates. Other advance directives, such as a power of attorney or health care proxy, can also help to protect your interests, both before and after you die. However, to properly plan your estate, you should speak to a lawyer with knowledge of estate law who can help you make the best possible decisions for yourself.
The estate law attorneys at David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC will thoroughly analyze your estate and work with you to determine the best means of transferring your assets, minimizing taxes, and ensuring your needs are met. For comprehensive estate planning services in New York, call David J. Lorber & Associates, PLLC at (631) 750-0900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Setauket office.