Welcome to Law Lingo: a monthly blog series brought to you by Brown & Crona, LLC that explains estate planning terminologies in simple terms. This month we will explain living wills.
A living will, sometimes referred to as an advanced directive, is a legal document that gives you a voice when you are unable to express your medical wishes. Everyone has a right to refuse or allow medical treatment, but that is not always possible. Let’s say you are a healthy individual who falls into a coma after a serious accident. If you have not prepared a living will, your loved ones will have to make medical care decisions on your behalf. In fact, they may have to decide how long to continue life-sustaining treatments – something that can rip a family apart if not all parties are in agreement.
Terminal conditions sometimes require physicians to intervene with measures such as resuscitation, feeding tubes to deliver life-sustaining nutrition or hydration or a ventilator to provide breathing assistance. These measures may prolong your life – but at what emotional and financial cost to your loved ones? There are many things to consider when drafting a living will.
Questions to Consider When Drafting a Living Will
- Do you want full medical intervention to prolong your life by all medically effective means?
- Would you rather have selective treatments or comfort-focused care?
- Are you comfortable with artificial nutrition being administered?
- How long do you want life-sustaining procedures to continue?
- Would you like to name a medical power of attorney to enforce these decisions?
- Do you want to donate organs or tissues upon your death?
2 Main Reasons to Create a Living Will
- Protect your loved ones from having to decide how far to go with end-of-life decisions for you.
- Protect yourself from a) living a poor quality of life or b) having your life ended before you are ready.
By creating a Denver living will, you have the power to make these decisions so your family does not have to. It’s important to discuss your options with your doctor, family members and possibly even an experienced living will lawyer in Colorado. They may bring up situations and solutions that you had not considered.
The Colorado Advance Directives Consortium offers a Colorado Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment (MOST) form that you can complete: http://www.coloradoadvancedirectives.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/1-MOST-Form-FINAL-2015.pdf. This form should be shared with your family, physician and your medical power of attorney if you have one.
Still confused by living wills or any other legal terms? Would you like assistance in creating a living will? The Denver estate planning lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC are here to help. Many people work their living will into their estate planning documents and our team can help with that as well. Even if you just want to ask questions about living wills in Colorado, contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.