Do you have a plan for what happens if you become incapacitated? If not, you should consider creating a living will. No one can predict their future, but having a living will in place is one way to make sure your wishes are known if something happens to you.
Living wills shouldn’t be confused with other legal documents like last wills or trusts, but they’re also important in wealth management. There are a few things to consider when creating a living will, so you should inform yourself as much as possible before making any decisions.
This blog post will cover everything you need to know about living wills. From what they are and their role in wealth management to the benefits of having one. By the end, you should have a clear understanding of whether or not a living will is right for you.
What Is A Living Will?
A living will is a legal document that outlines your wishes for medical treatment if you become incapacitated and can’t communicate your decisions yourself. You can use a living will to express your preferences for things like life support, artificial hydration and nutrition, and other forms of medical intervention.
If you experience complications after a scheduled procedure or if you’re unconscious after an accident or other occurrence, you may lose your ability to communicate. In this case, a living will allows your family and medical professionals to know what treatment you would or wouldn’t want to receive.
Living Wills In Wealth Management
True wealth is more than just money – it’s also your health and wellbeing. Therefore, it’s essential to consider your overall health plan as part of your wealth management strategy. A living will is one tool you can use to help manage your wealth, along with a last will and a living trust.
A living will won’t directly impact your financial assets, but it will ensure that doctors treat your body following your wishes. In contrast, other legal documents like a last will or living trust primarily address financial assets. We’ll further explore the differences between the three in the following sections.
Living Will Vs. Last Will
A last will or testament allows you to control what happens to your assets after you die. You can use a testament to specify who’ll inherit your property and how and when they’ll receive it. It also covers family matters such as appointing legal guardians for your children.
As mentioned before, while the last will is only used after your death, a living will can take effect when you’re still alive but unconscious or terminally ill, unable to express your medical care preferences. You can have both a living will and a last will. Having both can provide comprehensive coverage for your wishes in the event of incapacity or death.
Living Will Vs. Living Trust
Living wills and living trusts are also two different things, but they’re often confused. A trust is an arrangement where you transfer ownership of your assets to a trustee, who then manages them for your benefit. On the other hand, a living will doesn’t cover your assets. It only covers your medical care preferences.
The main similarity is that they’re both valid while you’re still alive. However, a living trust becomes effective as soon as it’s created, whereas a living will only take effect if you become incapacitated. Same as with the last will, it’s possible to have a living trust and a living will at the same time. Anyone who wants a more holistic wealth management plan may benefit from having both.
What Should A Living Will Include?
It can be helpful to divide the living will into categories of care. Start by addressing general principles, such as whether or not you want to receive life-sustaining treatments. Include another category for palliative care, which focuses on relieving symptoms without trying to cure the underlying condition. Finally, don’t forget to address end-of-life care, such as whether or not you want to be resuscitated if your heart stops beating.
To help you get started, consider the following questions when drafting your living will:
- What would you want if you could no longer breathe independently?
- Do you wish to receive artificial hydration or nutrition? What about mechanical ventilation?
- What medical interventions are you comfortable with?
- Are there any treatments you would refuse?
- What are your thoughts on pain management?
Your living will can be as specific or general as you want it to be. You can list out every possible scenario you can think of, or you can simply state that you don’t want to receive life-sustaining treatment. It’s up to you.
The Benefits Of Having A Living Will
A living will can provide relief for you and your loved ones by knowing that your wishes will be followed when you’re unable to communicate them yourself. It can also help avoid conflict among family members who have different ideas about what’s best for you.
Another benefit is that a living will can reduce anxiety for your loved ones because they won’t have to make difficult decisions during an emotional time. If you’ve already expressed your preferences in a legal document, they’ll know what you would want and won’t have to stress about making the right decision.
Lastly, having a living will can give you a greater sense of control over your health care. It allows you to make decisions about your future medical care while you’re still healthy and able to do so. This is particularly crucial if you have strong feelings about certain types of treatment.
How To Create A Living Will?
The process of creating a living will varies by state, but there are some general steps you can follow.
- First, you’ll need to find the correct form. You can usually get this from your doctor, hospital, or state health department. Once you have the form, fill it out and sign it in front of witnesses. In some states, you may also need to notarize your signature.
- After the form is complete, make copies and give them to your family members, close friends, and anyone else who might need to know about your wishes. Keep a copy for yourself as well. You should keep the original in a safe place where you can easily find it.
- It’s important to review your living will periodically and update it as needed. You should also make sure that your family members and close friends are aware of any changes you make.
How To Revoke Your Living Will
What you’ll need to do to revoke your living will also varies by state. Generally, you can:
- Destroy The Old Will: It’s possible to cancel a will by destroying it. You may burn, shred, or tear it personally or have someone else destroy it on your behalf and in your presence.
- Change An Existing Will: You can make changes, or amendments, to an existing will. These changes must be in writing and signed by you and witnesses, just like the original will.
- Make A New Will: You can also revoke a will by making a new one. The new will must state that it revokes all previous wills and codicils (amendments). You’ll then follow the same process outlined in the previous section to create the new will.
Who Needs A Living Will?
In short, anyone over the age of 18 who wants to have a say in their future medical care if they become incapacitated should have a living will. This includes people with chronic illnesses, disabilities, or terminal illnesses.
It’s also a good idea for healthy adults to have a living will in case they become incapacitated unexpectedly. For example, if you’re in a car accident or suffer a stroke. Overall, anyone who looks for true wealth in the form of wellbeing may find a living will to be valuable.
What Happens If You Don’t Have A Living Will?
If you don’t have a living will and become incapacitated, your family members or close friends will need to decide on your medical care. Deciding can be an arduous task, especially if they don’t know what you’d want or if they disagree about the treatment you should receive.
In some cases, it may even lead to legal disputes. For instance, if your family can’t agree on whether to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment, they may need to go to court to have a judge make a decision. When there isn’t any close relative or friend available, the court may also appoint a guardian to decide.
Nesso Wealth – We Help You Reach True Wealth
Ultimately, true wealth goes beyond money. It’s about living a healthy, happy, and fulfilling life, which explains the importance of stating your wishes on legal documents like a living will. At Nesso Wealth, we understand this and want to help you find and pursue your definition of true wealth. We’re a team of expert wealth advisors in Connecticut committed to adding convenience and simplicity to your life.
When you work with Nesso Wealth, you can be sure you’re in the hands of highly professional and experienced advisors. We’ll develop a customized plan that adapts and changes as your life progresses. We always put your best interests first and are transparent about the fees you’ll pay for our services.