What is a Living Will/Advance Healthcare Directive?

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

While we all want to remain young and healthy forever, unfortunately, we can’t. The best thing we can do is to be prepared for the future. One of the most important steps to take is drafting a will, which should also include an advanced healthcare directive, also known as a living will.

What is a Living Will?

A living will is a statement that details your desires about your medical treatment if you can no longer communicate informed consent on your own behalf. An advanced healthcare directive provides specific instructions to healthcare providers if certain types of circumstances arise.

For instance, if you are in a coma or a vegetative state, terminally ill, or so sick that you cannot communicate, the advanced healthcare directive will inform your treating physicians of what measures they should use to treat you and which measures you wouldn’t want to be taken. Frequently, people use an advanced healthcare directive to inform their healthcare team that they don’t want any extraordinary life-saving measures, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Power of Attorney

A power of attorney (POA) is part of an advanced healthcare directive that allows you to select someone who can make healthcare decisions for you if you cannot make them for yourself. This is also referred to as a durable power of attorney, a healthcare proxy, or a healthcare surrogate.

When appointing a power of attorney, choose an individual you trust and spend enough time explaining and discussing your wishes with them. The more they know, the more they can act according to your wishes if and when the time comes for you to rely on them for help.

A living will or advanced healthcare directive ensures your desires are honored even when you can’t explain or voice them on your own behalf. Unfortunately, far too many people think that these options are only necessary or permitted for the elderly. However, even young people can and should consider making some plans for their health care and the distribution of their assets in the event that something unexpected occurs.

Questions about Drafting a Living Will or Estate Planning? Meet With an Experienced Wisconsin Estate Planning Attorney Today

The experienced Wisconsin estate planning lawyers at Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C. understand that planning your estate can sometimes be difficult. It’s hard to imagine a time when you can no longer make medical decisions for yourself, and your loved ones are left to pick up the pieces.

However, you can make such situations much easier on them by having a living will in place for your family members to rely on. Our attorneys take the time to understand your concerns and desires, explaining which options might be best to include in your living will as well as your entire estate plan. You get to decide what is best for you and your family. It’s our job to ensure that your wishes are appropriately expressed and that your documents are legally binding. Contact us by phone at 920-831-0300 or online to schedule your no-obligation case consultation today.