A living will in Washington, Missouri is sometimes called a "healthcare directive" or something similar. But whatever you call it, it's a legally-binding document which provides instructions for your family members as well as you doctors on how you want end-of-life medical care to be handled. It lets them know in advance what you want.
A living will can be extremely important in avoiding painful, expensive, and time-consuming disputes between your family members.
For instance, some people would not want to be kept on life support if they are terminally ill, and have no reasonable chance at recovery. Others might want to be kept alive as long as medically allowed. If your family doesn't know what you would prefer, they might have to guess. Obviously, this can lead to significant disagreements, considering how emotional and final this decision is- there is no way to compromise between the two positions (a person can be kept on life support, or taken off of it; there isn't really any middle ground.).
If a person's preferences aren't known by his or her family, they might have to make an educated guess. Of course, with limited information, it's entirely possible for 2 family members to come to two entirely different conclusions, with no way of knowing which one is correct. Making your wishes known in advance can help you avoid all this.
How to Create A Living Will in Washington, Missouri
First of all, you should speak with your spouse/life partner and members of your immediate family, to discuss your wishes in this matter. If the directives in your living will ever become necessary, the process will go much smoother for your loved ones if there are as few surprises as possible.
Now comes the part where you actually draft the living will. The process is likely to go much more smoothly if you enlist the help of a reputable attorney in Washington, Missouri who is experienced in drafting documents like this.
In order to be given effect, specific formalities have to be followed when drafting a living will. Typically, the requirements are identical, or very similar to, the requirements for regular wills.
While these procedures vary by state, there are a few elements that are quite common. For instance, in most states, wills have to be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who have no direct stake in it. It's also important to avoid any disputes or confusion as to whether or not a particular document was intended to be a will. A clear statement to that effect should be the first paragraph in any type of will.
Do I Need A Washington, Missouri Living Will Attorney?
While not strictly necessary, a knowledgeable estate-planning lawyer in Washington, Missouri can be extremely helpful in the process of drafting a living will. An attorney will understand the intricacies of local law, and will help you draft a document that, to the extent possible, will ensure that your wishes with respect to your own healthcare are followed.