A living will in West Chester, Pennsylvania can also be referred to as a "healthcare directive." Whatever the name, it is a document that lays out a person's wishes with respect to their medical care, in case they become unable to make their own decisions.
Making a living will can save your family a great deal of grief. There are some pretty terrible situations that a living will can help you avoid. It's not uncommon for a patient to become incapacitated, leaving the doctors with only a few options. Members of your family might disagree over what you would want, leading to an extremely painful dispute, which could have been easily avoided if they'd simply known.
For example, some people don't want to be kept on life support if they are in a vegetative state with no significant chance of recovery. Others, however, might prefer to be kept alive as long as humanly allowed. Another person's wishes might be something in between. In any case, if the family doesn't know what their loved one's wishes are, they may have to guess, which could lead to them making a judgment that the patient would never have wanted.
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 West Chester, Pennsylvania
Before you begin, you should make it very clear to your family members what your wishes on this subject are. If it ever becomes necessary to implement a living will, the process will likely be simpler if your family already knows what to expect.
You then need to actually draft your living will. This can be made much easier if you have an experienced West Chester, Pennsylvania attorney who practices health law or wills and trusts help you. Even though a simple living will is not terribly complicated, having professional assistance is always advisable.
In most states, a living will must follow all the formalities as testamentary wills (wills that dictate what is to be done with a person's property after their death).
While these formalities 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 critical 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 West Chester, Pennsylvania Living Will Attorney?
While not strictly necessary, a good estate-planning lawyer in West Chester, Pennsylvania 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.