When You Reach Out
We’ll Be Here for You
Every Step of the Way

Living Wills Lawyers in Trenton, NJ

Guiding Clients Through The Process of Creating a Living Will

When thinking about making estate plans, most people are focused on writing documents and putting together plans that will allow them to protect their assets and pass them on to the next generation. While asset protection and distribution are key components of estate planning, your estate plans should also include certain documents that help your loved ones understand how to care for you while you are still alive but incapacitated.

The attorneys at Bratton Law Group go over what you need to know about living wills and why writing your living will with the help of an attorney may be the best choice for you. If you have questions about estate planning or living wills, contact our Trenton, NJ, office at 609-362-5692.

What Is a Living Will?

A living will is a legal document that is part of an individual’s estate plans. It allows a person to record their preferences regarding medical treatments and interventions in the event that they become unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves.

A living will is a way of providing clear instructions to healthcare professionals and loved ones about the types of medical care the individual desires, such as life-sustaining treatments, resuscitation, and organ donation. A living will ensures that the person’s preferences are respected and followed. It can also reduce conflict and bring peace of mind to their families, as it eliminates uncertainty and allows for the continuation of care according to the person’s values and beliefs.

What Should You Include in Your Living Will?

In a living will, it is crucial to be as detailed and specific as possible to ensure that your wishes are accurately followed. You may want to include specific instructions about the types of medical treatments you would like to receive or refuse. You can add information about a variety of aspects, from your preferred doctor, hospital, or clinic to allergies, health conditions, and your preferences regarding life-sustaining treatments, such as artificial nutrition and hydration, ventilators, and CPR. You may also want to consider including your thoughts on pain management, palliative care, and end-of-life decisions. If your religious or cultural background prohibits you from receiving certain types of treatments or requires you to be treated in a specific way that aligns with your beliefs, these preferences should also be included in your living will.

Additionally, your living will allows you to appoint a healthcare proxy. A healthcare proxy is a trusted individual who will be responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Be sure to discuss your wishes with this person beforehand and make sure they understand and are willing to carry out your instructions. Including the name and contact information of your healthcare proxy in your living will is essential to ensure that they can be easily reached in an emergency situation. Appointing a healthcare proxy can be done through your living will or in a separate document – ask your attorney which option would be best for you.

Is a Living Will Really Necessary if You Already Have a Last Will?

A living will is necessary even if you already have a last will because they serve different purposes. A last will and testament is a document that is usually discovered and read after you pass away. It allows you to record your wishes for how your assets will be distributed once you pass away and contains information about your beneficiaries and which assets each beneficiary should receive.

In contrast, a living will focuses on your medical treatment preferences and decisions while you are still alive. A living will ensures that your wishes regarding medical care and interventions are followed, even if you are unable to communicate or make decisions for yourself. It can also contain your preferences regarding your funeral. This is also important because many people add their funeral preferences to their last will, yet many times, their last will is not read for weeks after the funeral has already taken place. Both documents are necessary and work together to ensure your wishes are respected.

How Can an Attorney Help Me Write a Living Will?

It may sometimes be overwhelming or scary to think about a time when you may be incapacitated or nearing the end of your life. By working with an attorney, you can take a more objective approach to writing your living will while receiving the legal guidance you need to ensure it will work for you. If you need help writing your living will or have questions, contact the Bratton Law Group at 609-362-5692.