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Create A Living Will To Protect Your Rights And Wishes In most cases, you have full control over your own medical care. But when you’re no longer able to express your own wishes, the situation can become very unclear.

Create a Living Will Colorado to Protect Your Rights and Wishes

 

At Duncan Legal, PC, we understand the importance of your family and your wishes. We can can help you draft living will in Colorado and ensure it is administered as you wish.

What Is a Living Will?

In most cases, you have complete control over your medical care. But the situation can become very unclear when you are unable to express your wishes due to ill health or incapacitation. A living will, a type of advance directive, is essential to any estate planning process. It lets you clearly state your wishes for end-of-life medical care.

A living will is a legal document that determines a person’s healthcare preferences if they can no longer decide or communicate their desires. It allows people to express their future medical decisions on treatments.

It is also an advance directive prompting doctors or others to honor their decisions. Without it, family members or healthcare providers make future decisions on one’s behalf. Living wills protects your family from making hard decisions on life-sustaining procedures. It also reduces confusion among family members when deciding on your medical treatment.

Speaking with a lawyer can help you draft a living will clearly and concisely. They can help you ensure that Colorado laws have been followed and also assist in revising your living will if need be. Let an experienced estate planning attorney at Duncan Legal, PC help you create your living will today.

What Is the Difference Between a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament?

A last will and testament is a document that materializes into action upon your death. It involves the inheritance of your estate after you die; thus, it has no legal effect while you are alive. In contrast, a living will dictates your wishes concerning future healthcare treatments.

Essential Facts About Colorado Living Wills

A living will gives directions during difficult medical times. It states your wishes on feeding tubes, resuscitation, and other life-prolonging procedures. To understand more about estate planning, consider these facts:

  • You can draft your living will once you turn 18.

  • The declarant should be physically and mentally able to communicate their own decisions.

  • Living wills must be legal documents, not simply verbal or written directives.

  • The living will doesn’t go into effect until 48 hours after two different doctors or medical providers agree in writing that a patient is in a persistent vegetative state, can’t speak for themselves, and has a terminal condition.

  • There should be two witnesses present when completing a living will. They should not be your doctor, employee, or anyone who can inherit your property. But, you can choose other patients at the healthcare facility to be witnesses. However, they should be mentally competent and over 18.

  • You can change your living will at any time.

  • A declarant can revoke the living will orally or in writing. The declarant can also destroy it by burning, canceling, tearing, or obliterating it.

  • Living wills vary from state to state.

What Does Colorado Living Will Laws State?

 

Colorado State has a statutory form for creating living wills to provide consistency. However, there is a difference between states. Hence, if you move elsewhere, check if your living will is valid.

In Colorado, the living wills can give instructions pertaining to the following medical procedures or interventions:

  • artificial nutrition
  • artificial hydration
  • administration, removal, or refusal of life-sustaining procedures. It refers to procedures that are only used to prolong the dying process. It includes surgery, CPR, defibrillation, and medications.

In Colorado, hospitals acting under living will directives are not subject to civil or criminal liabilities. Physicians who take part in withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures are immune too.

You can appoint anyone 18 or older in Colorado as your healthcare agent. That person should be able to understand and express your wishes. They should also be available when you need them. They should communicate with your doctors to inform them about your wishes as per the living will.

Other Adavance Directives

A living will is not the only legal document containing guidelines for health care providers. In Colorado, advance directives can also include a medical durable power of attorney and a CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) directive. While a living will contains information about what kind of life-sustaining procedures you want, CPR directive tells them whether you want to be resuscitated if your heart stops working.

A durable medical power of attorney names an individual to make medical decisions on your behalf if you can’t speak for yourself.

Process for Creating a Living Will in Colorado

Here are the steps to consider while preparing a living will in Colorado:

  1. Decide on your treatment options. Include your preferences on life-sustaining treatments, like medications and surgery.
  2. Include instructions in relation to future life support measures such as feeding tubes and artificial respiration. You can also include end-of-life wishes, such as organ donation.
  3. You can also create a medical power of attorney when making a living will. In a medical power of attorney, you should name your healthcare agent or proxy. They are responsible for deciding anything that has not been predetermined in your living will.
  4. Ensure the living will form is specific to Colorado.
  5. Fill and sign your living will. Ensure that you have two witnesses. You may also notarize it.
  6. Store the living will in an accessible place. You should update it as your preferences change.

Benefits of Creating a Living Will

 

Despite the common misconceptions about living wills, they also have many benefits. Here are some benefits of having a living will:

  1. It allows you to exercise legal control over your future health care. It specifies and describes your wishes for your health care directives.
  2. It allows you to appoint someone as your healthcare agent through a durable power of attorney. They act on your behalf when you are unable to communicate your desires. They also ensure the fulfillment of your wishes about medical treatments.
  3. It allows you to leave instructions for your end-of-life care. You can guide your doctor on when to remove a feeding tube or other means of artificial nourishment.

When it comes to withholding life support, the physician can do it only if:

  • You are terminally ill and have no chance of recovery.

  • You have been unconscious, in a vegetative state, or in a coma for a specified time. Your living will take effect after 48 hours.

 

What Are the Limitations of a Living Will in Colorado?

Some limitations to using a living will are as follows:

  • A living will has limited applicability. It can only apply to specific situations.

  • It relies heavily on doctors’/physicians’ compliance.

  • Healthcare providers sometimes may not receive the instructions provided by a patient in their living will.

 

Seek an Estate Planning Attorney’s Help

 

Consider hiring an estate planning attorney when creating a living will in Colorado. A lawyer can help you draft the document and ensure it is administered as you wish.

If you think healthcare providers are not following the living will, you can file a complaint with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Your attorney can help you with the process.

Despite the complexities of drafting the documents, lawyers from Duncan Legal, PC are here to help. They can also answer any questions you may have regarding your unique circumstances.

We can walk you through the state-specific living will rules as we help you define your wishes. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Flat-fee options are available for wills, trusts and probate:

(303) 394-2358