A Living Will is an important document to have at any stage in your life. It is a legal document that is drafted to express your wishes regarding end-of-life care. Without a Living Will in place, some of the hardest and most important decisions of your life can be left entirely in the hands of medical professionals and loved ones.
Not only do you risk having a decision made that you might not support, but family members may also be forced to make up your mind for you, often leaving them feeling unsure they have made the right decision.
However, you can ensure your wishes are carried out as you intend by signing a Living Will. The experienced Long Island estate planning attorneys at Cona Elder Law will work closely with you to explain your options so you can rest easier knowing you've put the proper documents in place.
A Living Will is a document in which you express your wishes regarding end-of-life care. You specify your wishes regarding the use of life-sustaining treatments such as artificial nutrition and hydration, pain management and the administration of CPR. By signing a Living Will, you make decisions for yourself now. Your loved ones will never be faced with making these critical and difficult decisions for you. It’s a wonderful gift to remove this decision-making burden from your loved ones’ shoulders.
Your family may be overwhelmed with emotions and information from medical professionals. To make matters worse, many families fail to have these tough discussions. Even if you've had the difficult conversation, emotional distress can at times push the family into making decisions against the wishes of their loved one.
Each state has different requirements for a Living Will. In New York, a Living Will works in conjunction with a Health Care Proxy. The agents named in both documents must be the same. Along with a Power of Attorney, these three documents make up what is known as Advance Directives. When you work with an estate planning lawyer and develop a trusted attorney-client relationship, you can ensure your wishes are specified and will be carried out in the event of your incapacity.
A Living Will is important so that you are making clear what your wishes are to be followed by medical professionals and your health care agent and so that your loved ones know what your wishes are. This eliminates conflict among family members as well as the emotional burden of decision making. A Living Will is important for a number of reasons, including:
● You keep control of your own end-of-life care wishes
● Your loved ones are not burdened with making these decisions for you
● Medical professionals cannot make these decisions for you
● You alleviate any family conflicts over what your wishes may have been
● You have peace of mind
A Living Will attorney will meet with you to fully understand your wishes and concerns about end-of-life care. They will educate you on New York State Laws and how the Living Will works in conjunction with a Health Care Proxy. Together, in this attorney-client relationship, you will get the best legal advice for establishing this important legal document that sets forth your wishes regarding:
● Artificial nutrition and hydration
● Pain management
● Life support
Your Living Will attorney will also explain when the Living Will comes into play and when it does not as people often have concerns that they will not get the care they need for non-terminal conditions. All of this will be explained by a knowledgeable and experienced Living Will attorney.
So if you ask, “Should I contact a New York elder law attorney for a Living Will?” Clearly, the answer is Yes!
Our Living Will services are part of creating a comprehensive estate plan for our clients. A Living Will is part of the three documents that make up Advance Directives, that is, a Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, and Living Will. These legal documents allow you to plan ahead to ensure an agent can step up to take action and follow your wishes in the event of your incapacity. As no one knows when an illness or accident may happen, everyone should have their Advance Directives in place after the age of 18. That way, all medical, health care, and financial matters can be attended to as you have seen fit by the agents you have appointed.
The attorneys at Cona Elder Law are experienced and ready to help you create a plan for your peace of mind. We can assist you in making sure your wishes are communicated well, and your health care agent fully understands his or her role in your end-of-life care planning.
We can also ensure your documents are maintained in a safe location and easily accessed when they are needed.
With the guidance and assistance of the attorneys at Cona Elder Law, there's no need to fear the unexpected. We'll help you create a plan so you can spend more time enjoying today and rest easier knowing you've put the proper legal instruments in place for tomorrow.
Contact us at 631.619.2533 to get started.
A Living Will is an Advance Directive and works in connection with a Health Care Proxy. The agent you name must be the same in both legal documents. You specify your wishes for end-of-life care in the Living Will. Your agent under the Health Care Proxy may need to communicate with medical professionals as to those wishes if you are unable to do so yourself.
Your Living Will must be kept in a safe location where your agent and other loved ones know where it is and have access to it when they need it. Your doctor should also have a copy of your Living Will and Health Care Proxy. Never keep your Living Will in a bank vault or other storage location where your agents and loved ones cannot access the document when they need it. Further, make sure your loved ones and agents know where your Living Will is kept and be sure they have a copy.
Cona Elder Law offers a Document Vault where our clients have access to their Estate Planning documents anywhere, at any time.
Cona Elder Law recognizes the vital importance of the role digital technology plays in our daily lives and how it can improve communication with added availability and accessibility at the touch of a button. We also understand that loved ones have busy individual schedules and are not always physically together. For example, adult children may need a copy of their parents’ Will, Trust, or Advance Directives but they live out of state. Or if your child is away at college and needs medical assistance, you may need access to their Health Care Proxy. Therefore, we created the Cona Elder Law Document Vault- where clients can securely store their important family documents for online access anywhere at any time. In addition to keeping your Estate Planning documents in our physical Cona Elder Law vault on premises, we have created a digital Document Vault for you and your authorized loved ones to access whenever you have online internet connection.
By creating an online Vault for your documents, you and whomever you choose to authorize, are able to access these important documents wherever and whenever you need them. This free service allows Cona Elder Law to upload all of your Estate Planning Documents including a Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney, Living Will, Last Will and Testament, Trust, and more to your Document Vault. Once you log in to the Cona Elder Law Document Vault with your email and personal password, you will be able to view, download and/or print your documents. Additionally, the loved ones whom you have authorized access to your vault will be able to do the same with their own email and personal password.
A Living Will should be made before a health care crisis occurs. Further, since no one knows when an accident or health crisis may happen, everyone over the age of 18 should have a Living Will.
Estate planning is critical at every age but it is also important not to “set it and forget it.” Your estate plan should be reviewed every five years, sooner if you retire or are contemplating retirement if there are changes in your or your spouse/partner’s health if there are changes to your family composition, such as deaths, births, divorces, or significant changes to asset levels (other than typical market fluctuations). And keep in mind that one size does not fit all; there are many case-specific issues that affect estate and asset protection planning. Only an experienced elder law attorney can properly analyze each situation and make the best recommendations.
A Living Will is typically prepared as part of your overall estate plan. That cost will vary depending upon the complexity of your estate. However, the peace of mind of having your Advance Directives: Living Will, Health Care Proxy, and Power of Attorney in place is priceless! Knowing you have set forth your own wishes and appointed an agent to carry them out is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your loved ones. Work with a law firm and estate planning lawyer today to take care of these important legal documents.