A will is a document that sets forth the distribution of a person’s assets to named beneficiaries upon his or her death. This may include a declaration as to whom the person wants to act as the guardian of his or her minor children. A will can also include a testamentary trust to hold assets for the benefit of minor children until they reach a designated age, at which time the remaining proceeds are completely disbursed to the child.
A will is ambulatory, meaning it moves with the person even if they relocate to a new state, and it may be changed at any time. A will may be changed through the preparation of a new will or by a codicil that only changes specific paragraphs.
Living Wills and Advanced Medical Directives
It is also recommended that you set up a Living Will or an Advanced Medical Directive (also called a “Health Care Directive”). These documents are declarations of how you want medical staff to proceed in the event you have:
A terminal condition which is an incurable or irreversible condition for which the administration of life-sustaining procedures will serve only to postpone the moment of death, or
You are in a “persistent vegetative state,” which generally means that you have a condition that will last indefinitely without hope for improvement such that you can no longer think, feel anything, knowingly move, or be aware that you are alive.
In order for a Living Will to come into play, two physicians, one your treating doctor and the other unrelated to your case, determine that any medical procedure or intervention would only serve to prolong the dying process. However, life-sustaining procedures do not include any medical procedure or intervention for nutrition or hydration that is considered necessary by the attending physician to provide comfort or alleviate pain.
Don’t Force your family to argue over what they think you would have wanted.
Contact Carolyn Moller Duncan, P.C. today to set up a free consultation and to begin taking steps to protect your legacy, your wishes, and your family’s future.