Everything You Need To Know About Living Wills

Posted by Kia Crawford on January 27th, 2016 in Education | No Comments

Living Will PaperworkLiving wills are one of the most important documents you and your elderly loved one can create. Despite its name, living wills are not designed to make sure your loved one’s assets go to the right heirs. Rather, it ensures your loved one gets the care they desire as they near the end of their life.

More specifically, living wills dictate what medical treatment your loved one wants and doesn’t want in the event they become incapacitated. This can range from what medicines they would refuse to whether they want to stay on life support. Without this document, doctors and loved ones may be forced to guess what kind of treatment to administer. Here’s everything you need to know about creating a living will.

How to Create a Living Will

In Georgia, a living will is also known as an advance directive. It allows you to set a healthcare proxy, who will make decisions on your behalf should become incapacitated. You must have two witnesses sign the directive in order to make it legal. These witnesses must meet a few requirements, including:

  • Must be at least 18
  • Must not be related or be an heir to the person for whom the directive is being created
  • Must not be responsible for medical bills for the person for whom the directive is being created

You can create the living will yourself on sites like LegalZoom, but due to the complexity of the document, it is generally recommended to have an attorney create it for you.

When to Create a Living Will

There is no set time to create a living will. Typically, if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or are beginning to experience signs of advanced aging, you will want to create the living will as soon as possible. That way, if something were to happen to you, your loved ones and healthcare provider will be ready.

Living wills are not necessarily permanent. They can be revised if you change your mind on different forms of treatment. This can be especially helpful if you write your living will earlier in life and have a change of heart.

What to Do with Your Living Will

Once your living will is signed, notarized and made legal, you need to make sure it gets in the hands of those who need it. First and foremost, make sure your healthcare provider has a copy of the document in your file. If the doctor is uncomfortable carrying out these last wishes, now is the time to change physicians. Your healthcare proxy and/or power of attorney should also have a copy of your living will. Finally, keep a copy in an easy-to-find place at home so it can be easily accessed if needed when the time comes.

For more information about living wills or any other important life matters, including assisted living, please call the professionals at Dogwood Forest Assisted Living Home in Atlanta, GA.