J. Kelly Kennedy, Attorney/CPA, PLLC

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What benefits are associated with living wills?

When a person thinks about taking care of their loved ones, what items come to mind? Of course being there for someone emotionally is a significant part. However, there is also the financial portion of caring for loved ones that can give caretakers pause. When the roles are reversed and a caretaker is now the person who needs care, how can these wishes be carried out?

Living wills can help to care for for oneself and take the burden off of loved ones in dire situations. Living wills aren't technically what one thinks of when they think of a will. A person's living will is a legal document that expresses a person's desires and preferences about medical treatment in case he or she becomes unable to communicate these instructions during terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness. It can cover everything about healthcare wishes and sometimes beyond that, when a person becomes unable to communicate those wishes upon injury or illness.

This can help to care for loved ones by taking the burden of what to do in stressful situations off of their shoulders. It can be difficult to know what to do in these serious circumstances since all people feel differently about healthcare and such. It can lead to a fight or unnecessary incurred expenses if a loved one unknowingly makes the wrong choice. It gives control to the person who could be rendered injured or ill and be unable to make those decisions that may be important to them, if such dire circumstance were to arise.

This is just one step in the estate administration process. Living wills may be able to cover specific requests of a person in lieu of a situation in which they would be unable to carry out certain decisions. Loved ones may be relieved to hear that a living will exists in which decisions have been premeditated by the injured or ill person. It's one way you can care for yourself and loved ones in unfortunate circumstance.

Source: estate.findlaw.com, "Living Wills: Introduction," Accessed May 11, 2017

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