In Martinsburg, West Virginia a living will (also recognized 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.
Making a living will can save your family a great deal of grief. There are some pretty terrible instances 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 disagreement, which could have been easily avoided if they'd simply known.
For instance, many people state that they would not want to be kept alive by artificial means if they are in a vegetative state, and have no decent chance of recovering. Others, however, would like to be kept alive if they have any chance, no matter how small, of recovery. If your wishes on this matter aren't known, your doctor or family members might have no idea what you would have wanted, and may make a determination that goes against your wishes.
Furthermore, individual family members may not agree on what the patient would have wanted. Disagreements on this subject can be profound, and can cause irreversible damage to family relationships. But if the patient's wishes are made clear in advance, these fights can normally be avoided.
How to Create A Living Will in Martinsburg, West Virginia
Before taking any steps to formulate a living will, you should make your wishes known to your family. While it's ultimately your decision (and your family will probably recognize that), they will likely appreciate having their opinions heard. Furthermore, implementing a living will can be much easier if the family already knows what it says, with the document simply making it legally-binding.
You then need to actually draft your living will. This can be made much easier if you have an accomplished Martinsburg, West Virginia attorney who practices health law or wills and trusts help you. Even though a simple living will is not terribly difficult, having professional assistance is always advisable.
Living wills typically have to follow the same formalities as regular wills (the ones that distribute a person's property after their death).
While these protocols vary by state, there are a few elements that are quite typical. For example, in most states, wills have to be witnessed and signed by at least 2 people who have no direct share 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 Martinsburg, West Virginia Living Will Attorney?
While not strictly necessary, a seasoned estate-planning lawyer in Martinsburg, West Virginia 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.