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Creating a living will is a task that’s often pushed back on a financial to-do list – but it shouldn’t be. A living will is a lawful document, otherwise known as an advance health care order that details how you want to be cared for if something suddenly impacts your health and you end up on life support.

A living will also force you to answer tricky questions, such as whether or not you need doctors to do everything they can to keep you alive, even if the outlook seems hopeless. Or give them consent to let you go if you’re injured.

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Here are key questions to ask before writing a living will:

  • Do I really need a living will?
  • What should be integrated into a living will?
  • Where should I put my living will?
  • How much does it cost to put together a living will?
  • What’s the variation between a will, a living will and a living trust?
  • How do I write a living will?

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What’s the Difference Between a Will, a Living Will and a Living Trust?

A living will is often confused with a will, which is a legal document that explains your wishes for your possessions after you die. Equally, a living trust is an estate planning document that addresses how your possessions will be managed if you are injured. For example, if you own an assortment of precious items and assets after you’re gone, your will would distribute who would receive your residence, furnishings and artwork collection.

living will example

On the other hand, if you’re in a coma, a living trust will give an important person to create these choices for you. This individual would be able to use your bank account to pay your bills and make financial decisions, as well as whether or not to sell your residence. Without a living trust, those decisions can be prepared by a court.

You’ll also want to make a decision if your living trust has to be revocable or irrevocable. With an irrevocable trust, you can’t create any changes, so on the occasion that you awake from a coma, you wouldn’t be able to create choices about your possessions. Still, some people choose irrevocable trusts for tax-shelter profit.

Do I Really Need a Living Will?

The answer will depend on how you feel about the prospect of being alive but not cognizant, such as after a dreadful car accident or if you suffer from dementia. If you feel either way about life-preserving measures, then you need a living will. If not for your own peace of mind, think creating a living will for loved ones who may struggle over the conclusion to invoke life-saving measures or not.

living will from a sick person

How Do I Write a Living Will?

You’ll fill out a form, which you can get from an estate attorney or a hospital. You can also download it online, but you’ll need to have it notarized, and attorneys and legal websites like as the U.S. Living Will Registry warns that living will forms on the internet might be outdated. State laws modify often, so you’ll want to assure the living will form you are filling out is updated. You can do this on your own, but it’s also a great idea to consult an expert.

How Much Does It Cost to Put Together a Living Will?

If you’re looking to make a living will in a cost-effective way, you might download a free-living will form from a source that you rely on, or get a form at the hospital and have it notarized at your bank for just $10 or $15. These guidelines are regularly all-inclusive and give space for you to provide the names of your physicians as well as emergency contact #s. These forms also address specific circumstances, like pregnancy; on the form, you can state your wishes for medical care in the event you become injured.

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But if you are going to employ a lawyer to assist you to create your living will for yourself and your spouse, anticipate paying hundreds or thousands of dollars in legal fees, depending on the difficulty of your financial condition.

What Should Be Included in a Living Will?

You can present medical instructions on tissue or organ donations once you die in your living will. You may desire to state whether you want CPR or shock tools used on you if you go into cardiac arrest, as well as if you would want antibiotics or antiviral for treatment for infections, amongst other end-of-life wishes regarding health care.

For example, you may want to discuss sedative care, a type of medicine that promotes selfless comfort care for people in a grave or life-limiting illness. It’s a little different than hospital care, which is also a form of sympathetic care, but at a time when the patient is measured to be at the end of his or her life.