In Fairfax County, Virginia a living will (also identified as a "healthcare directive") is a document in which a person provides instructions for their own medical care, in the event that they become unable to make their own decisions, or unable to express them.
A living will can be extremely important in avoiding painful, expensive, and time-consuming disputes between your family members.
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 matter comes up, your wishes (whatever they are) will be honored.
Even worse, individual family members might not be able to agree about what your wishes would be. Disagreements on a subject like this can cut very deep, and cause irreparable damage to family relations. If the patient's wishes are made clear beforehand, these disputes can be avoided most of the time.
How to Create A Living Will in Fairfax County, Virginia
Before you begin, you should make it quite 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 should then go about drafting the will. This should almost always be done with the assistance of a Fairfax County, Virginia attorney who specializes in these matters.
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 Fairfax County, Virginia Living Will Attorney?
While it's not strictly required, it can be very helpful to have the counsel of an efficient Fairfax County, Virginia attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer will help you navigate the local laws on this subject, making it much easier for your wishes to be implemented.