In Los Altos, California a living will, also identified as a "healthcare directive" is a document which lays out directions for your family and your doctor regarding healthcare matters should you become so ill that you are unable to make or express such decisions.
A living will might prove necessary in heading off painful and time-consuming disagreements among family members. If your family has no clue as to how you would want a certain situation to be handled, it's up to them to guess. Obviously, this can lead to significant disagreements. If family members know in advance what the patient wants, these disputes are far less likely.
For example, 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. Nonetheless, there is no middle ground between the two. You likely want the peace of mind that comes with knowing that, if such a matter comes up, your wishes (whatever they are) will be honored.
Additionally, individual family members may not agree on what the patient would have wanted. Disagreements on this subject can be profound, and can cause irreversible damage to family relationships. But if the patient's wishes are made clear in advance, these fights can typically be avoided.
How to Create A Living Will in Los Altos, California
Of course, your loved ones should be engaged in the process. They can't make these arrangements for you, but they'll likely be more willing to accept your decisions if they feel that their voices were heard. In any event, if your family understands what to expect when your living will is enforced, the process will probably be easier.
You should then actually draft the will. To be sure that it is valid, you should have the assistance of a Los Altos, California attorney who specializes in wills.
Living wills generally have to follow the same formalities as regular wills (the ones that distribute a person's property after their death).
In general, wills of any type (testamentary or living) have to be signed by 2 people who witnessed it being signed by the person who the will is for. They must also contain a clear provision saying what they truly are (so there can be no confusion as to whether or not a certain document was intended to be a will).
Do I Need A Los Altos, California Living Will Attorney?
While not completely necessary, a reliable estates attorney in Los Altos, California can be very helpful in drafting a living will. A lawyer will understand the intricacies of state and local law, and can craft a document around those laws, to ensure that your wishes are followed, to the extent feasible.