Call for a FREE Consultation

21November 19

What Is a Living Will?

Living wills are designed to spare your loved ones from having to make difficult end-of-life decisions regarding your treatment. By making your wishes clear, you can avoid hardship caused by quarreling loved ones each of whom believe they know what’s best for you. In this article, we’ll answer the question: What is a living will?

Understanding Living Wills

When you’re no longer to advocate on your own behalf, a living will provides the means by which you can tell doctors and loved ones what type of treatments you want to extend (or not extend) your life. This includes issues such as hospice care, continuing life support, and which medications you do or do not want. This is different than a last will and testament. A living will determines what doctors should do while you’re still alive but unable to advocate for yourself. A will determines what will happen to your estate after you die.

Living Wills vs. Advanced Directives

Advanced directives are a category of items that include your living will. They also include a DNR (do not resuscitate), directives concerning organ and tissue donation, instructions concerning a specific illness, and your medical power of attorney. Essentially, your living will can include all of these items.

Living Wills and Medical Power of Attorney

If you become incapacitated while injured or ill, you can assign a trusted relative, spouse, or friend the power to make decisions concerning your health care. This person is said to have medical power of attorney and also known as a health care proxy. Your health care proxy cannot overrule the decisions set forth in your living will, but may have a more nuanced understanding of what you want.

What Should You Include in Your Living Will?

There are a number of questions you should answer in your living will. These include: 

  • What should happen if I can no longer breathe on my own?
  • If you can no longer feed yourself, do you want feeding tubes?
  • What kinds of pain management drugs would you authorize?
  • Do you want a DNR (do not resuscitate) or DNI (do not intubate)?
  • Do you plan on donating your organs when you pass? 

You can also include specific instructions concerning how to manage certain conditions that you have. 

When Does a Living Will Take Effect?

Living wills go into effect as soon you are unable to communicate and advocate on behalf of yourself but you are still alive. If you are in a coma or otherwise incapacitated, your living will takes effect immediately. However, if you were to regain consciousness or can advocate on your own behalf, the living will would cease to be in effect.

Why You Need a Living Will

Having a living will saves your family the difficulty of making complex medical decisions on your behalf, guessing about what you would want, and gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your wishes will be carried out regardless of your condition. 

California Living Will Requirements

All states have their own rules and requirements when it comes to living wills. In California, a living will is legally binding if it is signed by two witnesses, one of who is neither related to you or a beneficiary of your estate. This can be a trusted family friend or an attorney. Likewise, you cannot choose a medical provider or an employee of a health care facility (unless they are a domestic partner or a blood relation). For those in skilled nursing facilities, one of the witnesses must be a patient advocate.  

While living wills do not have to be notarized, some choose to have them notarized anyway. An attorney can help you draft a valid living will in the state of California.

What is a Living Will?

Your living will protects you from procedures, therapies, surgeries, and medications that you don’t want and gives your family the peace of mind that they are executing your wishes. Talk to the Herbert Law Office today for more information on setting up a living will, durable power of attorney, and advance health care directives. 

 

Request a
Free Consultation

What Our Clients Say

  • Steve and I enjoyed your professionalism, service, and care in making us feel like we were your VIP clients. We would love to recommend Herbert […]

    ~ Stephen & Margaret P., Mojave

    unum disability claims
  • Great experience. Marc explained everything and gave us all the time we needed to review the documents.

    ~ Kris and Sharron W., Tehachapi

    unum disability claims
  • Pleasant and good information. We felt comfortable through the difficult decisions and never felt pressured.

    ~ Floyd and Agee R., Ridgecrest

    unum disability claims
  • Marc and his staff put my mom’s trust on their top priority because she was hospitalized.

    ~ Louiese H., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Very professional and approachable.

    ~ James and Cecelia M., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Friendly and professional.

    ~ Tomas and Mary C., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Very friendly and easy to work with.

    ~ Michael and Carole S., Acton

    unum disability claims
  • Very helpful, easy to understand. Felt very comfortable.

    ~ Judy W., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • (Marc) was very helpful and professional … patient answering all of our questions with cogent explanations.

    ~ Terry and Nancy L., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Very pleasant and staff extremely helpful … open and honest.

    ~ Steve F., Quartz Hill

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Pleasant and well-informed …you educated us.

    ~ Raymond and Lori G., Santa Clarita

    unum disability claims
  • Explained everything well. Always available when our schedule changed. Easy to work with.

    ~ Mark and Suzanne F., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Easy process.

    ~ Michael and Susan R., Quartz Hill

    unum disability claims
  • Very efficient … (we appreciate) your attention to detail, ability to explain documents in “plain” English, good response time.

    ~ Thomas and Bonnie G., Tehachapi

    unum disability claims
  • We just kept putting it off. Thank you for your patience … (and) one-on-one personal contact.

    ~ Rex and Denise H., Acton

    unum disability claims
  • Very pleasant, patient and accommodating. Great listener … (the) Antelope Valley community should be proud of having such a caring and wonderful person like you, […]

    ~ Hovsep M. and Anna A., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Very professional, great attention to detail, seemed to really care … (and) answered all questions.

    ~ Daniel and Linda L., Ridgecrest

    unum disability claims
  • Personable, knowledgeable, explains well. Very happy with the courtesy and expertise in handling our Trust.

    ~ Anthony and Susan C., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • It was an easy experience for a hard thing to do. (Marc is) very easy to speak with and made everything easier to understand. We […]

    ~ Bruce and Christina Z., Tehachapi

    unum disability claims
  • (You) were always following up to make sure we had all we needed. Great service … provided a lot of information.

    ~ Carlos and Claudia O., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Very informative …friendly … (and) explained things clearly.

    ~ Robert and Joan W., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Marc was great at understanding our needs and he and his staff are so responsive in providing what we need, how we need it … […]

    ~ James and Linda J., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • (We appreciate your) thoughtfulness, friendliness and fairness to walk us through the process and helping set up a Special Needs Trust

    ~ Dale and Meryl Z., Tehachapi

    unum disability claims
  • Friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We enjoyed working with Marc. He took time to explain and answer all and any questions … (You) did not rush […]

    ~ Keith and Susan I., Acton

    unum disability claims
  • Marc took his time explaining everything thoroughly to us and answered the many questions we asked. We have busy conflicting schedules, so at times we […]

    ~ Sharron K. and Bonnie M., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Very professional staff … (Marc’s) first hand knowledge of the law (was very important)

    ~ Janet B., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent learning experience … (we appreciate your) expertise in the field.

    ~ Danny and Diane T., Ridgecrest

    unum disability claims
  • (My experience) was quite relaxing and worry-free … (Marc is) honest and answered any and all questions that I had leaving me with good feeling […]

    ~ James G., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Very professional and on the other hand very open, which made covering sensitive subjects a lot easier. (Marc is) easy to talk to.

    ~ Wilfred and Julia L., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • (Marc) was very patient with (me) … (and) anyone with assets and heirs (would benefit from his services).

    ~ Marcy W., Leona Valley

    unum disability claims
  • It is not fun to plan for one’s death, but you helped us be comfortable. You were very considerate to our needs, especially when it […]

    ~ John and Diane H., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • You and your staff were professional, helpful and patient … We took a long time getting everything together and you helped us and were patient […]

    ~ Jerry and Gloria V., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Very knowledgeable and helpful 🙂 … Your office was very helpful and persistent in keeping in contact with us during a very chaotic year. […]

    ~ Christopher and Naomi E., Temecula

    unum disability claims
  • We were in good hands with Marc’s expertise through every step. He was thorough. We didn’t feel rushed. We know that you are working for […]

    ~ Randy and Rebecca T., Lancaster

    unum disability claims
  • It was a well-paced comfortable experience

    ~ Richard and Clara H., Quartz Hill

    unum disability claims
  • Excellent. Professional and caring … (I liked) being able to contact you to answer my questions.

    ~ Dwight and Paula C., Palmdale

    unum disability claims
  • It was a pleasant and easy experience working with Marc …. Everyone who believes they and their family will “be alright” without a will and/or […]

    ~ Don and Michelle W., Lancaster

    unum disability claims