Living Will / Advanced Health Care Directive

An advanced healthcare directive (also called a living will) is a document that allows a person to write up their wishes for their end-of-life care, including appointing someone to make health care decisions for them, what kind of medical interventions and treatments they do and do not want, and what should happen to their body after they die.

In general these two terms are used interchangeably, but an advanced health care directive tends to be more comprehensive and a living will can be seen as a type of advanced directive. That said, both documents serve the same purpose and accomplish the same goals.

What Does an Advanced Health Care Directive/Living Will Cover?

Not all living wills or advanced health care directives must cover all these topics, but these are the most common circumstance you’ll want to think about and include:

Power of attorney

One major component of a living will is assigning power of attorney over your health care decisions. This person is sometimes called an attorney-in-fact, durable power of attorney, or health care proxy. This person you choose is often a spouse or close family member, but it can be anyone you trust to carry out your wishes and make decisions with your best interest and values in mind. When you become unable to speak and make choices for yourself, this person automatically takes over in your stead.

Appointing a health care proxy is necessary because even though you will have written out your wishes, there are often unforeseen circumstances that will come up that your directive doesn’t cover and they will have to make these new decisions for you. You may choose to assign contingent proxies if your first choice is unable to perform the role for you.

CPR/resuscitation

Do you wish to be resuscitated with CPR or a defibrillator if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating? You can specify circumstances for this or state how long such measures should be used before stopping.

Palliative care

Palliative care is an overarching term that covers anything that makes your life more comfortable and reduces pain while you are in your last days of life. What do you want this to look like? Is there a time when you would want to be at home instead of the hospital? Would you want to receive intravenous pain medication?

Ventilators

Would you want to be put on a ventilator if your lungs were not able to properly function, and if so, how long and under what circumstances?

Tube feeding

Tube feeding either directly to your stomach or intravenously is sometimes used in end-of-life care. Would you want to be fed in this manner and if so, for how long?

Donation

You can also use a living will to stipulate any organ or tissue donation as well as if you’d like to donate your body to the hospital.

Payment of services

Unfortunately, end-of-life care can be very expensive in the United States and if you are not prepared for the costs, your family will have to cover them. One thing an advanced directive can do is stipulate how your medical bills will be paid. This can be done by selling your assets, or taking payments from insurance policies or investment accounts.

It’s worth noting that although you can include DNRs (do not resuscitate) or DNI (do not intubate) guidelines in your directive, you don’t have to have one for your wishes to be honored. You can always tell your physician or the doctor when you are admitted to the hospital and they will put this in your records.

How to Start an Advanced Health Care Directive

Most people can make an advanced health care directive without the aid of an attorney, but you can always consult one for guidance and language suggestions.

Each state will have slightly different requirements, but they will all need to be in writing, be signed, and often need to be witnessed and in some cases notarized. You can find online versions of these forms for your specific state that will walk you through the steps and prompt you about routine end-of-life care situations.

You will also want to talk with your physician about your wishes in advance so they know your wishes and can help you with any medical language to make your directives clear.

After you complete your directive and have it witnessed/notarized as needed, make copies and provide them to the following people:

  • Your physician
  • Your named health care proxy
  • Your spouse and any other immediate family or friends who are likely to be involved in your end-of-life care
  • Retain one copy for yourself and put it in a safe location
  • Your original should be kept in a safe deposit box or somewhere else where it will be protected
  • Always bring a copy when traveling

You should also revisit your directives periodically to update them, especially when major life events happen. Good times to update your living will is when you get divorced, when you have a child, when you receive a new medical diagnosis, when you need to change your health care proxy, or about every ten years.

These documents are an essential part of anyone’s comprehensive estate planning and will provide peace of mind for you and your family. In times of grief and stress, the last thing you want for your family is to have to make hard decisions about your care that not all family members may agree upon. Creating and maintaining a living will is the responsible thing to do.

Navigation

Topics, that might interest you:

Creative Financing Avenues

Credit unions are member based organizations that you can join for free. Most credit ...

Learn more

Tax Sale Opportunities

Tax sale event may arise. But for you to really take advantage of these situations ...

Learn more

Types of Mortgage Interest Rates

If you are currently thinking about purchasing a new home, you no doubt have ...

Learn more

Avoiding Foreclosure

If you’re behind on your house payments, you may be in danger of foreclosure. But ...

Learn more

Real Estate Short Sales

Short sales by their very nature are not simple, but the more you know the better advantage ...

Learn more

Handling FSBO Properties

FSBO refers to real estate which is listed for sale by the property owner instead of through a...

Learn more

Adjustable Rate Calculator

Many home buyers prefer adjustable-rate mortgages because the initial interest rate is lower than a...

Learn more

Real Estate Development Risks

There are a lot of potential risks involved in property or real estate dealings. People who are ...

Learn more

Property Inspection Tips

If you are a real estate owner, you know that your property is like a living being, and as such...

Learn more

Selling Your Home

So you have decided to sell. In today’s real estate market you need all the help you can get in...

Learn more

Interest Only Mortgage

Why would one consider a “Smart Choice” (interest only) mortgage loan? Why not rent and save the funds?..

Learn more

Holding Company Taxes

A holding company (also referred to as a parent or umbrella company) is a company devised to house and manage..

Learn more

Land Trust Benefits & Disadvantages

If you own property, you’re likely looking for a simple, legally effective way to maintain your privacy and protect..

Learn more

Using a Holding Company for Privacy

A holding company is a company whose primary function is to acquire and manage other companies..

Learn more

Asset Protection and Real Estate Holding Companies

Real estate is as lucrative as it is risky. If you’re thinking about getting into real estate..

Learn more

Example uses of a Real Estate Holding Company

Real estate holding companies are the best way to protect your personal assets from the..

Learn more

LLC vs. Sole-Proprietorship

Limited liability companies (LLCs) are business structures in the United State...

Learn more

What's a Holding Company Subsidiary

A subsidiary company is a company that’s owned and controlled by another...

Learn more

Holding Company Naming Ideas

There are many parts that encompass forming a company and, in many cases...

Learn more

Holding Company Benefits: Advantages & Disadvantages

Although not a common idea when first starting your business, a holding company is something...

Learn more

How to Set Up a Holding Company

Holding companies do not exist to create products or provide services.

Learn more

Wyoming vs New Mexico: Where to Form Your LLC

When forming a business in the United States there are a few options to choose...

Learn more

What is a S-Corp Holding Company?

Holding companies are similar to other businesses, but instead of offering a product or service...

Learn more

Operating Agreements: What are they & What to Include

When forming an LLC there are a variety of different aspects involved in the formation...

Learn more

Holding Company vs Series LLC: What’s the Difference?

Holding companies are business entities that are formed with the intent of owning another entity...

Learn more

Business Bank Account

In everyday life, most people own a bank account to digitally use their money and protect it from theft...

Learn more

How to Obtain Your Employee Identification Number (EIN)

Separate your business and personal funds, preserve your limited liability...

Learn more

What is a Registered Agent?

Whether you choose to form an LLC or corporation, and no matter which state...

Learn more

Corporation vs LLC: What’s the Difference?

Does your business have a larger customer base? Is there an increased...

Learn more

6 Simple Steps to Form an LLC in Your Area

From liability protection to a favorable pass-through tax status...

Learn more

What are the Benefits of Creating an LLC? Is it Worth it?

The way you choose to legally structure your business impacts...

Learn more

LLC vs Corporation

Both LLCs and corporations are business entities...

Learn more

Land Trust vs Living Trust

A Trust is a contract between the person who creates...

Learn more

Equity Stripping

If you aren't a real estate investor, you may not be...

Learn more

Intellectual Property Holding Company

Holding companies separate their assets from operational...

Learn more

Investment Holding Company

Investment holding companies do not sell their own products nor...

Learn more

DBA / Trade Name

When legally forming your business with the state, you’ll choose...

Learn more

Obtain an EIN

If you’re in the early stages of forming your business, you may have...

Learn more

Can an LLC Own Another LLC?

A limited liability company, or LLC as it’s commonly abbreviated, is...

Learn more

Asset Protection vs. Living Trust

When estate planning, it can feel overwhelming trying to figure...

Learn more

Asset Protection Trust

An asset protection trust is a type of trust that offers the...

Learn more

Estate Planning Checklist

Estate planning should be a part of anyone’s long term goals for managing their estate and providing...

Learn more

Different Types of Trusts

It’s not something we like to talk about, but regardless of wealth, age, or amount of assets...

Learn more

Estate Planning Forms and Documents

Proper estate planning can ease the burden left on your family after you die, reduce or eliminate...

Learn more

Durable Power of Attorney

Assigning durable power of attorney can be a crucial step as you begin your estate planning, but...

Learn more

Dynasty Trust

If you’re looking for a trust that can last forever, then you need a Dynasty Trust.

Learn more

Executor Responsibilities

The role of the executor (or executrix) of an estate plan or will is to ensure the deceased...

Learn more

Funding a Revocable Living Trust

From avoiding probate and having ultimate flexibility over their...

Learn more

Choosing a Guardian

Many people choose to write a will, obtain life insurance...

Learn more

Estate Planning

Estate planning is the preparation and management of a person’s estate while they’re still living...

Learn more

Living Will / Advanced Health Care Directive

An advanced healthcare directive (also called a living will) is...

Learn more

Revocable Living Trust Cost

Actually, as wonderful as these benefits are, this estate planning document is not for everyone...

Learn more

Revocable Living Trust Taxes

Revocable Living trusts sounds like a simple process with big benefits...

Learn more

Revocable Living Trust

If you want to protect your loved ones after death, it’s essential to have an estate plan in place...

Learn more

Estate Planning vs Will

Estate planning is a general term for the process of...

Learn more

Family Holding Company

There is a lot to be learned from growing up working in a family business. Here are but 7 lessons you can learn...

Learn more

Family Businesses & Children

There is a lot to consider before getting your older involved in a family business...

Learn more

Family Companies After Divorce

You may believe that getting a divorce will ruin your family business...

Learn more

Protecting Family Businesses

You may believe that getting a divorce will ruin your family business...

Learn more

Selling a Family Business

Once the owner decides that selling the business to other family...

Learn more

Family Business Succession

Family business succession planning can be a challenging process...

Learn more

Family Business Tips

Thinking of starting a new business? Maybe a business with...

Learn more

Anonymous LLCs

Limited liability companies are business structures in the...

Learn more

LLC Asset Protection

LLCs are a business structure where the owners are afforded...

Learn more

LLC Benefits

When you are looking to start a business you have a few...

Learn more

Form an LLC

Limited liability companies are a form of business entity in the...

Learn more

LLC Fees

When forming a business in the United States you have the option...

Learn more

Manager vs. Member Managed LLC

Forming an LLC means you will be provided limited liability...

Learn more

Reinstate LLC

Limited liability companies are business structures in the...

Learn more

LLC Requirements

Limited liability companies exist as a business structure in the...

Learn more

LLC Search

Limited liability companies exist in the United States to...

Learn more

Single Member LLC

Limited liability companies (LLCs) are a business structure in...

Learn more

LLC Taxes

Limited liability companies are business entities in the United...

Learn more

Real Estate Agent Commissions

This year marks my 12th year in real estate sales and my...

Learn more

Manhattan Financial District

Up until a short time ago, there was no housing to speak of in...

Learn more

Miami Luxury Condo

Just because you have the money to make a purchase on any real...

Learn more

Interest Only Mortgages

Why would one consider a “Smart Choice” (interest only) mortgage...

Learn more

Online Property Searches

Here in Southern California many home buyers are going the...

Learn more

Software For Real Estate Investing

Looking for the best real estate analysis software for your real...

Learn more

Real Estate

You don’t have to be a real estate agent to think like one. My...

Learn more