A living will (also known as a directive to physicians or health care declaration) is a document in which you set forth the types of medical care and treatment you want to receive or don’t want to receive when you can no longer speak for yourself because you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.

Why Have a Living Will

There is no legal requirement that you have one, but it is certainly a good idea, and I recommend one to all of my clients. This is for several reasons, including:

  • To ensure your wishes are followed regarding medical care.
  • To relieve your loved ones of the burden of making those decisions without knowing your wishes.
  • To enable your doctor to follow your instructions. This is because without a living will, a doctor may be concerned that he or she might be committing medical malpractice or even a crime if they withhold or remove treatment.
  • To keep your private wishes on dying out of the probate court.
  • Your family and medical care providers may disagree as to what care should be provided or withheld. If they don’t all agree, the matter may end up in court.

So What Should I Do?

I recommend that everyone have an estate plan that includes a living will. If you want more information about estate plans and things you need to think about to prepare them, then I recommend that you download my free book, A Guide to Creating Your Estate Plan. It will get you a long way towards achieving that goal.

But if you live in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, or Cumberland counties, have decided that you need to put together an estate plan, and are ready to move forward to create one, then just click here to schedule a free, no obligation phone call to discuss it.

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Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.