In Bellingham, Washington a living will (also identified as a "healthcare directive") is a document in which a person states 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 significant in avoiding painful, expensive, and time-consuming disagreements between your family members.
For example, some people would not want to be kept on life support if they are terminally ill, and have no good chance at recovery. Others might want to be kept alive as long as medically permitted. If your family doesn't know what you would prefer, they might have to guess. Obviously, this can lead to significant disagreements, contemplating 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 prevent all this.
How to Create A Living Will in Bellingham, Washington
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 procedure will go much smoother for your loved ones if there are as few surprises as possible.
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 Bellingham, Washington 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.
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 Bellingham, Washington Living Will Attorney?
While not strictly necessary, a reliable estate-planning lawyer in Bellingham, Washington can be extremely helpful in the process of drafting a living will. An attorney will know 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.