What is a Living Will and Do I Need One?

Living wills are legal documents that allow individuals to specify in advance their wishes with respect to medical treatment and care should they become unable to communicate those wishes. Some people think that everyone should have a living will, while others believe that only those who are particularly concerned about their care should make one; those who create living wills choose to create them in order to ensure that their desires are known and respected should they become incapacitated. 

If you are considering creating a living will, be sure to speak with an attorney at NBMS Law. We can provide you with the guidance and legal advice you need.

Pennsylvania-Specific Provisions for Living Wills

Pennsylvania residents looking to create a living will should be aware of the specific provisions that apply in our state. For example, the document must be in writing and dated, and must state that you wish to have a living will. It must also list your name, address, and date of birth. The document must be signed by two witnesses, who must also sign a statement that they witnessed your signature and that you appeared to be of sound mind when you signed the document.

The living will is also required to specify which treatments a person does or does not want to receive if they are unable to communicate their wishes themselves. For example, a person might choose to refuse certain life-sustaining treatments such as artificial respiration or feeding tubes. It may also include instructions about whether the individual wants to be kept on life support in the event of a terminal illness, and whether he or she wishes to be resuscitated in the event of a cardiac arrest.

Living wills are also often used to specify whether or not you want to be an organ donor in the event of a terminal illness or catastrophic injury.

What are the Benefits of Having a Living Will?

There are many benefits to having a living will. Perhaps the most important one is that it allows you to dictate how you want to be treated if you are unable to speak for yourself. A living will can also help avoid costly and emotionally difficult legal battles between family members over medical decisions. Additionally, a living will can make sure your wishes are followed with regards to organ donation and burial arrangements.

As such, this document can provide peace of mind for individuals and their families by ensuring that their wishes will be followed. A living will would help to reduce the burden on loved ones during a difficult time.

What is the Difference Between a Living Will and a Power of Attorney?

As estate planning attorneys, one of the most common questions people have is: “what is the difference between a living will and a power of attorney?” A living will is used to state your wishes about medical treatment if you become unable to make decisions yourself. A power of attorney gives someone else the authority to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself.

It is important to understand that a living will does not take the place of a power of attorney. In fact, both are often necessary for comprehensive estate planning.

What Happens if I Do Not Have a Living Will?

If you do not have a living will, your family will be responsible for making medical decisions on your behalf. They will likely look to your doctor to help them make these decisions. If you have specified in a living will what types of treatments you do and do not want, then your family will likely follow those wishes. However, if you have not specified your wishes, your family may make decisions that you would not have wanted.

If there are no close relatives, the state will make the decision about the individual’s medical care.

What Happens if I Change My Mind About My Living Will?

What if you change your mind about your living will? Pennsylvania law allows you to revoke your living will at any time, effective upon communication to your physician. This means that you can make changes to your living will whenever you want, as long as you tell your doctor about it. 

Keep in mind, however, that this is only effective if it is followed correctly. For example, the ability to make these oral changes is dependent on having the necessary cognitive resources available to do so. As such, if you are in a coma, you would not be able to make these oral changes because you would not have the cognitive resources available to you at the time to do so.

So, if you want to make changes to your living will, be sure to discuss them with your attorney. The attorney will then advise on possibly also talking to your loved ones and healthcare providers so that everyone understands what you are trying to accomplish.

How Do I Make a Living Will?

If you live in Pennsylvania, there are a few things you need to know about making a living will.

First, you will need to find an attorney who can help you draft the document. The laws governing living wills vary from state to state, so it is important to work with an attorney who is familiar with the specific requirements in Pennsylvania.

Second, you must be 18 years old or older. Third, you must be of sound mind and understand the consequences of making a living will. Fourth, you must sign the document in front of two witnesses. The last step is optional, but it is recommended – notarize the document.

NBMS Law, P.C.

A living will is a vital document for everyone to have. It ensures that your wishes are known and carried out in the event that you are unable to speak for yourself. If you do not have a living will, make sure to get one today. Reach out to an attorney at NBMS Law today to get started.