A Des Moines, IA living will lawyer from the Law Group of Iowa can understand that thinking about end-of-life care is not something many people put on their priority list. Who wants to envision a situation where they are incapacitated and cannot express preferences for life-sustaining medical care? However, having your wishes written in a living can either see to it that every possible effort is made for you or if there are circumstances in which you’d prefer to be let go and rest peacefully.
A living will is a document that describes how you want your medical care to proceed if you were not able to express these wishes in the moment. A living will is usually utilized in combination with other estate planning documents, such as a power of attorney or health care proxy. Essentially, what a living will does is outline to what degree you want to be kept alive if there was a medical situation where you were not able to fully recover. Or, it may instruct doctors to make an effort to sustain your life by whatever means necessary.
As your IA Living will lawyer in Des Moines may explain, without a living will, decisions about your health care may fall into the hands of people that you would not want to make this choice for you. And consider this questions as well: how will loved ones know what to do if you are not able to communicate your wishes and there is no legal document that tells them what you would want? By having your life-sustaining preferences written down, they can be referred to in the event you were to become medically debilitated.
Some people decide to establish a health care proxy alongside a living will. A proxy is an individual you appoint to tell doctors your medical wishes and/or to make medical-related choices for you. Furthermore, if you don’t want to be resuscitated should your heart or breathing halt, you can include this preference within the living will document. Not sure if you need a living will and medical care directives? Here are signs that you may want to have one:
- – You prefer to have an individual be given the position to make important medical decisions should incapacitation occur
- – You are living with a terminal illness or about to have serious surgery
- – Leaving end-of-life medical decisions for your immediate family members to decide would greatly distress them (such as spouse or children)
Rules for a Living Will
Many people think that someone needs to be of old age to write out a living will but this is not the case. The age requirement for a living will is that the person needs to at least be an adult to ensure that the living will is valid. This means that if they are 18 years of age then they can legally establish a living will. Along with this age requirement, the person must also be in the right frame of mind to make this document. That means that they must be able to fully understand what the living will means and what actions they are placing in this document. If you need help establishing this important life document then reach out to a living will lawyer Des Moines, IA utilizes for estate planning needs from the Law Group of Iowa. Our firm has helped many people with setting up this important document and we can help you too.
When Does a Living Will Go Into Effect?
Living wills differ quite a bit from standard wills in the timeframe that they take effect. A standard will goes into effect when a person dies. However, a living will differs from that timeframe because a living will will go into effect when a doctor or medical professional pronounces that the person is incapacitated. They may also declare that someone doesn’t have the ability to understand healthcare choices or the situation and in that case the living will would go into effect too. The living will establishes someone to take control of healthcare decisions too. When someone is unable to make their own healthcare decisions or fails to properly understand what they mean and cannot think for themselves in this area anymore then the designated person would step in and make healthcare decisions for that person. They are required to do what is best for the person and to act with their desires. In order to learn more about these situations and how to have a strong living will contact our firm today to speak with a Des Moines living will lawyer.
How a Living Will Lawyer Can Help
A living will lawyer can help out in a big way. Our firm has years of experience in helping clients establish living wills. Whether someone is still young in age or old in age they both can establish a living will. It’s never too early to start thinking about estate planning and living wills are a part of that plan. Our firm has the necessary experience and knowledge regarding the different items or things that should be included in a living will. Many people are unfamiliar with this document and therefore could be prone to making mistakes. That’s why it is a good idea to have a lawyer on your side who specializes in these types of situations. Contact us today at the Law Group of Iowa to get your living will or other estate planning items taken care of.
Call the Law Group of Iowa
We know how important it is to have a knowledgeable legal team that you can rely on with your deepest concerns and most pressing questions. We can offer advice and counsel on a range of legal topics, including business law, family law, personal injury, estate planning, and so much more. No need to visit a different lawyer for every legal issue that arises. We can get to know you, your family needs, and provide guidance. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to obtain the answers and assurance you are looking for. A Living will lawyer in Des Moines Iowa from Law Group of Iowa is ready to speak with you!
Avoiding Mistakes When Writing Will
Most people understand how important it is to have a last will, but as a Des Moines living will lawyer explains, they may not realize when they could be making serious errors that lead to issues later on. Many people seek assistance from a lawyer who is familiar with estate planning law, to ensure that their documents are legally binding and they don’t forget anything. Here are examples of ways that people may unintentionally make mistakes.
Not Distributing Copies to Trusted People
Make numerous copies of your will and consider distributing them to appropriate family members and other parties. It may be helpful to share the document via email with yourself and your family members, to solidify that an electronic copy is always at hand in an email. In the event of an emergency, your trusted loved ones can easily access it and abide by its instructions. If you do not share your last will with anyone else and just toss it into a drawer, there’s a chance it won’t be found.
Never Updating the Will as Life Changes
Just like with most things in life, there may be times when change causes you to reconsider what you’ve written in your last will and testament. It’s recommended that you update your will regularly so that it reflects your current reality and values. Examples of reasons that you may need to edit your will include marriage, divorce, new children born or adopted into the family, receiving a recent inheritance, or a medical diagnosis. If you need to update your will, consider reaching out to a Des Moines living will lawyer as soon as possible to help.
Not Letting Family Know About Your Wishes
If the relatives that you trust the most to take care of you in the event of an emergency do not know what your preferences are regarding medical care, then they may accidentally go against your wishes. It can be difficult to have conversations about potential end-of-life care, but it’s essential to notify your family so that the treatments or life support you receive is what you would have wanted. If you prefer to not share this information with relatives, you may be able to leave a copy of your will at your doctor’s office so they can refer to it if the time comes to do so.
Not Contacting a Lawyer When You Need Help
It’s certainly possible to write your last will and testament on your own, but without having a lawyer review it for possible errors, you may commit a mistake unintentionally. If the will is too vague or doesn’t cover all of your concerns, then there is a risk that your preferences would not be carried out how you want. Ultimately, a legal professional is someone with the knowledge to answer your concerns and make suggestions that protect your best interest. For more information, contact a Des Moines living will lawyer from the Law Group of Iowa at your next convenience.
Living Will Frequently Asked Questions
If you have not yet drafted an advanced healthcare directive, it is time to speak with an experienced Des Moines, IA living will lawyer about your options. While it is commonly understood that every adult needs to have a will in place, the need for every person over the age of 17 to have a living will in place is not often addressed by the media and American popular culture. As a result, many adults in the U.S. are not even aware of what a living will is and why they should have an updated version of this document in place at all times.
When you meet with an experienced estate planning attorney at the offices of the Law Group of Iowa, our team will explain all of your unique estate planning needs, given your personal goals, preferences, and life circumstances. Some estate planning tools and resources are optional while others form the foundation of any basic, yet comprehensive, estate plan. A living will is one of the foundational estate planning documents that every adult needs to draft as soon as they reach the age of majority.
What Is a Living Will?
A living will is one of two estate planning tools that falls under the umbrella of “advanced healthcare directive” per Iowa law. Sometimes a living will is referred to as an advanced healthcare directive in and of itself and sometimes that broader term also includes a power of attorney designation.
A power of attorney for healthcare designation allows you to appoint someone to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you are too incapacitated by illness or injury to make medical decisions for yourself. However, this agent can only make decisions that aren’t specifically outlined in your living will. As our Des Moines living will lawyer team can explain in greater detail, a living will allows you to indicate the kinds of medical care that you do – and do not – consent to in the event of incapacitation.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you have not yet drafted a living will, it is time to schedule a risk-free, confidential consultation with the Law Group of Iowa to discuss this specific task and your broader estate planning needs. All too often, adults strive to forget that none of us knows how much time we’ll be given before our estate plans become urgent matters of business for medical care providers and/or our loved ones.
Don’t leave the direction of your medical care to chance in the event that you’ll need to make clear what it is you want and won’t be able to articulate those value judgments on your own. Don’t leave it up to the state to decide who gets to make decisions on your behalf. Speak with an experienced Des Moines living will lawyer today about drafting an advanced healthcare directive, complete with a living will and power of attorney designation. Your future self may thank you profusely for making this effort. We look forward to speaking with you.