I am sure you have heard the saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” It is a common phrase referring to things that we do not think about until we have a need to. We typically do not think about our hot water heater unless it breaks. We do not think about the tires on our cars until one goes flat. Estate planning is often like that. Many Americans, including those of us from North New Jersey, do not typically think about our long-term future. Death is inevitable, yet for most of us, it is not often on our minds.
It is important, however to be mindful that our days here are limited, and we never know when a sudden accident or illness could drastically and immediately change our lives. With this in mind, it is important to consider a living will. A living will is not actually a will, rather it is a document that includes your health directives in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to express your wishes to anyone.
In some respects, it acts as a power of attorney; it essentially makes the decisions on your behalf, completely adhering to the directions you previously dictated, including information related to your care and addressing how to handle your health if you are ill or injured and cannot communicate with anyone. This could include whether you wish to be resuscitated, whether you want to stay on life support and may even address whether you wish to donate your organs.
It is not only important for your own peace of mind to know what will happen to you, but for your family as well. For victims without a living will, it is not uncommon for families to have discussions and possibly disagreements on how they think you want to have your health concerns handled. A living will would prevent family members from having arguments and disagreements how to take care of you. Like all estate planning decisions, it is often in a person’s best interest to reach out to a professional law firm to learn how to best proceed.