When the subject of estate planning arises, most people just think about the financial component. Indeed, it is important to clarify your final wishes for your assets and execute the appropriate documents to direct the transfer of assets to your loved ones after your death. But a estate plan must also consider how your family will care for you if you are incapacitated and unable to communication. A critical part of this planning is a living will.
If you were following the news cycle during the early portion of the last decade the name Terri Schiavo will be familiar to you. Terri was a young woman who was in her 20s when she suffered full cardiac arrest and was left in a persistent vegetative state.
Doctors kept her alive with feeding tubes for eight years before her husband decided that his wife would have wanted the tubes removed if she could communicate her wishes. Her parents adamantly disagreed, and a highly public, acrimonious, and years-long court battle was the result.
This situation illustrates executing a living will is so important. With a living will you state your wishes regarding end-of-life treatment so there are no misunderstandings among family members if you experience this kind of tragedy. And even without disagreements in the family, merely giving instructions can save a family member from having to make an excruciating decision without your help.
A living will is an important part of any modern holistic estate plan. If you have not yet executed a living will, take action right now and arrange for a consultation with an experienced, licensed estate planning attorney.