Living Will Attorneys in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If you are concerned about being unable to communicate your decisions when it comes time to receive end-of-life medical care, you may choose to contact a living will attorney Philadelphia residents know and trust. The legal document that serves as a way for people to state their wishes for end-of-life medical care is referred to as a “living will,” “advance directive” or “health care directive.” A living will generally has no power after death and serves only to protect your wishes if you are unable to communicate what you want to happen at the end of your life. However, some living wills do give healthcare agents the power to make decisions related to organ donation and autopsy.
Whether you are working on your own estate planning or helping someone else, do not overlook a living will. Living wills give invaluable guidance to healthcare professionals, as well as friends and family, if someone is unable to express his or her wishes. In the absence of a living will, if you fall seriously ill, your family members and doctors must guess what you would want in terms of treatment. This can lead to disputes that can make it to the courtroom. Such disputes are often painful and may be completely avoided in some cases with proper documentation of your end-of-life care expectations.
Creating a Living Will
Because state requirements for creating a living will vary, consider contacting a living will attorney Philadelphia residents trust. While it is possible to create the document using estate planning software, the process can still be confusing, so it may feel safer to consult an attorney while you work on your living will. An attorney may also help you set up other estate planning documents such as your will, living trust, and power of attorney.
How Living Wills Work
Depending on the state, forms for advance directives may already exist. These forms allow residents to state their wishes in as much or as little detail as they choose. As an example, it is common to direct physicians to perform palliative care in every case, but request the avoidance of some extraordinary measures in certain cases. Palliative care is care meant only to decrease pain and suffering while cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is an example of an extraordinary measure.
Making a Living Will Valid
In order to be valid, every living will must meet all state requirements regarding witnesses and notarization. You can revoke a living will at any time. The living will can either take effect immediately after it is signed or only when it is determined that you are no longer able to communicate your wishes about medical treatment. In cases where the living will immediately takes effect, doctors will rely on personal communication with you instead of the document for as long as possible.
Powers of Attorney for Healthcare
In many cases, living wills are used alongside a document called a durable power of attorney for healthcare. In some states, the documents are combined. A DPOA appoints someone to carry out the wishes that are expressed in a living will. The person named in the DPOA is usually called the “agent” of the person who created the document.
Contact a Living Will Attorney Philadelphia Residents Trust
Instead of using software to create your living will, which is often a time-consuming process, consider contacting an attorney. Creating a living will can be an overwhelming and potentially stressful experience, but with the help of an attorney, it does not have to be. Contact Caiazzo Law today for more information on the process of drafting a living will and discussing your legal options. Contacting a living will attorney Philadelphia residents can rely on may be the first step in your journey towards protecting yourself and your interests.