In Burlingame, California a living will, also known as a "healthcare directive" is a document which lays out instructions for your family and your doctor concerning healthcare matters should you become so ill that you are unable to make or express such decisions.
A living will might prove crucial in heading off painful and time-consuming disputes among family members. If your family has no clue as to how you would want a given situation to be handled, it's up to them to guess. Obviously, this can lead to serious disagreements. If family members know in advance what the patient wants, these disputes are far less likely.
For instance, many people would never want to be kept alive by artificial means if they are in a vegetative state with no chance of recovery. Some, on the other hand, might want to be kept alive indefinitely, because of the slight chance of a miraculous recovery. Obviously, this is a personal decision, and one choice is not "better" than the other. However, there is no middle ground between the two. You probably want the peace of mind that comes with knowing that, if such a situation comes up, your wishes (whatever they are) will be honored.
This can lead to arguments between loved ones, some of whom might want to keep the patient on life support, while others believe that he or she would not want to be kept alive in such a state. If the patient's wishes had been made clear beforehand in a legally-binding document, such infighting could be avoided.
How to Create A Living Will in Burlingame, California
Of course, your loved ones should be involved in the process. They can't make these decisions for you, but they'll probably be more willing to accept your decisions if they feel that their voices were heard. In any event, if your family knows what to expect when your living will is implemented, the process will probably be easier.
You should then actually draft the will. To be sure that it is valid, you should have the help of a Burlingame, California attorney who specializes in wills.
Generally, living wills need to follow the same formalities as testamentary wills (wills that dictate how one's property is to be distributed after death).
These formalities vary from state to state, but wills usually have to be witnessed and signed by at least two people who do not have a direct interest in the matter. Also, they should contain a clear statement indicating that the document is, in fact, a living will.
Do I Need A Burlingame, California Living Will Attorney?
While it's not strictly required, it can be very helpful to have the counsel of an experienced Burlingame, California attorney. A good lawyer will help you navigate the local laws on this subject, making it much easier for your wishes to be implemented.