All Rhode Islanders have the right to make their own medical decisions. However, if you should ever become unable to vocalize those wishes—because of paralysis, coma, or neurological incapacitation—an estate plan can speak for you. Specifically, a living will can tell medical professionals and loved ones what you want should you be incapacitated. Image Properties
A Living Will Speaks for You During Your Lifetime
A living will (also known as an advance directive) is not the same document as a last will and testament. While a last will and testament outlines your wishes for how your assets are distributed after your death, a living will provides doctors with instructions on end-of-life medical decisions while you are still alive.
A living will is essential to any estate plan. Without one, it’s possible that:
- A family member guesses and makes the decision for you
- Family members disagree on which choice to make
- The medical staff decides
Those who are then put in a position to make the decisions may know little to nothing of what you would have chosen. When family and doctors are left to guess and make determinations, hurt feelings, mistakes, and even lawsuits can ensue.
What Your Living Will Can Do
A living will—as part of a complete estate plan—can provide instructions for certain scenarios and types of care, including:
- Palliative care, which can include any treatment that aims to reduce pain and suffering as much as possible.
- Resuscitation, either cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or use of a defibrillator, which can restart a person’s vital functions.
- Organ donation, even though these wishes are carried out after death.
We Offer Invaluable Help for Estate Planning
If you’re considering revising or creating an estate plan, you need an advisor who can fully understand your needs and the needs of your estate. The legal team at Kirshenbaum & Kirshenbaum is available to meet with you, hear your concerns, and build a comprehensive and personalized plan. To speak with a team member today, fill out the online contact form on our website.