A comprehensive estate plan might include multiple different documents, each of which can protect you in different ways. A will allows you to name a guardian for your children and to designate beneficiaries for your property after you die. This is the most basic document necessary to have control over your estate.
Powers of attorney can let you name someone else to make medical decisions or perform financial transactions on your behalf. A living will is another important document. While not actually a will, it does serve the purpose of explaining your medical wishes in the event that circumstances leave you unable to communicate your preferences with others.
How a living will works
An adult of sound mind can fill out paperwork in California explaining their medical wishes and preferences. From life support and narcotic pain management preferences to thoughts on organ donation and specific medical procedures, your living will removes the guesswork from someone else handling your medical care when you are incapacitated.
Properly creating a living will, including having witnesses to your signing, will mean that it is enforceable and will therefore guide your medical care in an emergency situation unless you are pregnant at that time. A living will can make a very difficult time easy for your family members. They may spend the rest of their lives second-guessing whether they made the right decision or not if they didn’t have specific instructions from you.
Adding a living will to your estate plan will protect you and your medical preferences while giving your loved ones comfort and peace of mind.