In Washington, District of Columbia 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.
This can be very advantageous in avoiding disagreements between family members who otherwise might not know what your wishes on this subject are.
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.
This can lead to disagreements 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 prevented.
How to Create A Living Will in Washington, District of Columbia
Before initiating the process, you should make your wishes quite clear to your family. If your family is cognizant of your wishes well in advance, it will probably be much easier for them to accept the provisions in your living will, even if they don't agree with them.
The next step in the process is to truly write the living will. While you might be able to draft a valid living will by yourself, to ensure that no problems come up after it's too late, you should pursue the counsel of a Washington, District of Columbia attorney who drafts wills.
In most states, the criteria for holding a living will to be valid are the same as those necessary for an ordinary will, at least with respect to the formalities that must be followed.
While these required procedures vary by state, there are a few common elements. For instance, most wills and living wills need to be witnessed and signed by 2 people who have no direct interest in the subject matter.
Do I Need A Washington, District of Columbia Living Will Attorney?
The assistance of a reliable Washington, District of Columbia attorney is never a bad idea, even if it's not absolutely necessary. There are typically nuances in state and local law on this subject which laypersons will not be aware of, but with which an attorney will be intimately familiar.