In helping Ohioans with their living wills, we hear many of the same questions from clients. If you’re thinking about creating a living will and have some questions about the process, this blog from Dawes Legal, LLC, should be a helpful read for you.
What is a living will?
A living will is a written instrument that takes effect when you are either terminally ill or permanently unconscious and cannot continue to make decisions for yourself. The document details your desires regarding life-sustaining treatment in these situations to ensure that your end-of-life wishes are carried out.
When should I create a living will?
People often believe documents like living wills are only for elderly people, but it is wise for everyone to have a living will in place. Accidents and illnesses strike people of all ages, and you have the power now to decide what happens to you in the future.
What is the difference between a power of attorney and a living will?
A living will commits to writing the level of care you want to receive in the event medical professionals conclude you are in one of the above states (terminally ill or permanently unconscious). The physicians in charge of your care will honor the desires you include in your living will. A medical power of attorney, however, gives someone else (like a family member) the power to make medical decisions when you cannot do so yourself.
What should be included in my living will?
In creating a living will, many people will complete an entire Advanced Directive packet. This packet includes your living will, medical power of attorney, an organ donation form, and a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form. The DNR form must be completed with a medical professional. It is beneficial to complete these all at once, and a lawyer can guide you through the steps required for each one.
What do I do with my living will when it is complete?
After you have completed your living will, you will want to make copies and distribute them to your family members or people who might be around during any end-of-life care you would receive. You also want to make sure that your physician has a copy of your living will when it is completed and notify hospitals you are subsequently admitted to that you have a living will. You do not need to file your living will in court or present it to any court for that matter, but you want to make anyone who treats you is aware that you have a living will in effect. Physicians will only be able to carry out your wishes if they are aware of them.
If you have considered creating a living will, Attorney Shannon Dawes can assist you. Contact our firm today by calling (614) 733-9999 to learn more about living wills and how they can benefit you and your family members.