In last week’s post, I addressed 3 key questions to work through as you begin creating a living will. Here are 5 more vital questions to consider:
— How do I get a living will?
— How much does it cost to put together a living will?
— What should be included in a living will?
— Do I need anything else?
— Where should I put my living will?
How Do I Get a Living Will?
Before creating a living will, one should begin with a consultation with an attorney to make sure a living will accomplishes the goals they have in mind, then speak with a doctor to gain more insight and understanding. If a living will is the best document for the job, individuals can talk through different scenarios and figure out their specific wishes.
How Much Does It Cost to Put Together a Living Will?
Depending on where one goes and whether it is only a living will that is needed or if it needs to be created along with other documents to complete their estate plan, cost can range from one or two hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
There are also less expensive options available online for creating estate planning documents. However, Bonazzoli cautions people, saying, “You get what you pay for.”
What Should Be Included in a Living Will?
A living will should cover treatments for which someone has specific desires. A living will can be generic or can go into great detail depending on an individual’s wishes. One can also express their desire to donate organs for transplant or research purposes in this document.
“It could cover no artificial means of breathing, hydration and things like that,” Bonazzoli says. “It’s an instruction, and sometimes living wills will be more detailed if there are certain religious beliefs or strong beliefs you want to comply with. The intent is, when you’re unable to communicate your medical wishes, there’s a document there that communicates them.”
Do I Need Anything Else?
A health care proxy is often either included in a living will or created together with one. The proxy is someone chosen to express your wishes to medical professionals and to make medical decisions for you. It is common for people to name a health care proxy when creating their living will.
Some individuals also choose to sign a do-not-resuscitate order, which instructs health care providers to not perform CPR if their breathing or heartbeat stops – including procedures as simple as mouth-to-mouth breathing or as complex as intubation. If one wishes, the DNR can be included in a living will.
Where Should I Put My Living Will?
After the living will has been completed, signed, and executed, copies should be given to those for whom it is relevant such as one’s doctor, health care proxy, and durable power of attorney. The original living will should be stored safely at home.
For help creating your living will or other estate planning documents, contact us at Wilson and Wilson Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC at 708 482 7090 for our main office in LaGrange, Illinois or at 847 656 8958 for our Northbrook, Illinois office.