Every estate plan should contain an incapacity component. It is very possible that you will become unable to communicate before you pass away. Decisions may become necessary, and you may not be able to make them for yourself.
If you want to be comprehensively prepared you should execute documents called advance directives for health care. One of these is a living will.
This type of will has nothing to do with arranging for the transfer of financial assets. With a living will you state your preferences regarding medical procedures. These documents are largely centered on the question of whether or not you would want doctors to utilize or withdraw life-support measures if you were in a terminal condition with no hope of recovering.
Of course it becomes more likely that you will be in such a condition as you start to reach an advanced age. However, the sad truth is that young adults are involved in serious accidents every day. Others are suddenly stricken by catastrophic illnesses.
This is what happened to Terri Schiavo. She entered into full cardiac arrest when she was still in her 20s, and her case has become the prime example of what can happen if you do not have a living will in place.
Her husband wanted the feeding tubes that were keeping her alive removed, and her parents disagreed with this course of action. They fought it out in court, and the battle could have been avoided if a living will had been executed by the patient in advance.
A recent survey found that 61% of Americans are going through life without a living will. If you are among them you would do well to take immediate action and execute a living will with the assistance of a licensed estate planning lawyer.
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