Ask an Atlanta Trust Attorney: How Good is Your Living Will?

Ask an Atlanta Trust Attorney: How Good is Your Living Will?

living wills in georgia

One of the many documents a trust attorney in the Atlanta area will encourage clients to put together is a living will.  These documents have been considered incredibly important in both the legal and medical fields for 40+ years.  A living will provides you with the opportunity to make your medical wishes known should you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions at the time.  A living will often considers things like whether or not you want to be on life support and how you feel about doctors taking “extraordinary” measures to prolong your life.

There are a lot of positives to a living will.  For example, it can take some of the burden off of your loved ones who are likely already in a state of shock over your incapacitation.  In addition to worrying about your health and grieving over your condition, the people closest to you may also be called upon to make incredibly difficult decisions regarding your health care.  Choosing to end life support for a spouse or parent is a heart-wrenching decision, and if you can take that burden from your loved one, then why wouldn’t you?

A recent Wall Street Journal article takes a deeper look into the usefulness of living wills, and some of their findings are contrary to popular belief about these documents.  You can take a look at the article, “A New Look at Living Wills,” but some of the basic points made include:

  • Living wills may be too “black and white,” while actual medical emergencies often fall into a “gray area.”
  • Doctors have a limited ability to predict a patient’s outcome, so it is difficult to use their best guesses as a measure against which to determine if life support should be withdrawn or not.
  • In addition to doctors and patients, ethicists are weighing in on the usefulness of living wills, and many of them are leaning away from using them at all.

One of the biggest problems with a living will is that the wording can be rather vague.  This can be especially true if you use a fill-in-the-blank document you find online, rather than working with a knowledgeable trust attorney in Atlanta.  In order to make your living will as helpful to your loved ones and medical staff as possible, it may be a good idea to be very thorough and to define what you mean by things like “quality of life” and “reasonable chance.”

Many people are moving toward these more comprehensive living wills, although it is certainly difficult to anticipate every situation that can arise.  According to the WSJ articles, some people are now foregoing the living will altogether and opting instead to have their estate planning attorney assist them in naming a health care agent with whom you discuss your views and values before leaving the decision-making responsibilities in his or her hands.

If this is something you would like to explore further in your particular situation, or you have further questions about creating a living will here in Atlanta, please feel free to give our Marietta estate planning and elder law firm a call at 770-425-6060 and ask to schedule a complimentary Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session with the mention of this article.

Atlanta Living Will Attorney Helps Clients Plan for an Unexpected Disability

Atlanta Living Will Attorney Helps Clients Plan for an Unexpected Disability

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Here in Atlanta, living will attorneys know full-well the ramifications of not planning ahead for an unexpected disability.  Even those clients who understand the importance of estate planning tend to overlook what would happen if they should become unable to care for themselves.  It’s not the happiest thought, but the reality of not having a living will can make the situation considerably worse for both you and your family.

A major disability can be devastating to an entire family, both emotionally and financially.  Pre-planning for the possibility can reduce some of the heartache that often accompanies these situations.

Medical Concerns

You may assume that your spouse would simply make decisions for you if and when a major problem takes place.  Ask yourself, if he or she really wants to be responsible for some of those decisions. For example, if you were in a coma, how would your spouse react to making the choice of whether or not to stop life support?  Even if your loved ones know your wishes, simply having them in a formal document can remove a considerable burden and amount of potential guilt.

A living will attorney can help you to draw up these documents so that your family does not have to make these choices.  The attorney can also assist by offering insight into situations you likely wouldn’t have considered.  Are you opposed to a blood transfusion?  Are you adamantly against ending life support?  What needs to happen if you become mentally disabled?  Who should be given power of attorney over your other health-related issues?

Financial Concerns

Having a major illness or injury is very expensive and can keep you from working during and after hospitalization.  Your Atlanta GA living will attorney will also advise you on what needs to happen financially if you are unable to take care of your own needs.  For example, you will likely set up a power of attorney, as well as to determine how long-term care will be paid for.  Will you need to sell your house?  Will you be eligible for disability insurance?  These are all questions that the living will attorney will go over with you.

There are plenty of other considerations that need to be addressed by a Atlanta Georgia living will attorney.  From what will happen to your children to where you might end up in nursing care, there are choices that need to be made.  Planning in advance with your attorney in Atlanta will ensure that your wishes are being followed if the time should come.

If you are ready to get started in creating a plan that will protect you and your family should incapacity or disability occur, give our office a call at 770-425-6060 and ask to schedule a Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session.  These sessions are normally $750, but you can come in free with the mention of this article.  However, these sessions are limited to 10 per month so call today!