What Is a Living Will? Do I Need One?

living will directive with stethoscope and pen

Have you heard of the term “Living Will” before? If you’re not sure, you may feel worried and may ask yourself if it’s something you need to have, or you may feel confused as to what getting one could involve. Olen Law Office helps individuals create their Living Will, but what does the individual need to know before writing this document? Here’s some information you need to know to set your mind at ease.

What Is a Living Will?

A Living Will is a legal document that may alternatively be called an Advance Directive or an Advance Directive for Medical Decisions. Per Philadelphia law, this document comes into effect when an individual receives a catastrophic illness or injury, is in a coma, or is in another situation where there is no expectation of recovery or survival. A Living Will allows an individual to make medical decisions for their own end-of-life care in advance, such as refusing or requesting certain treatments, before they are in a state where they need it.

  • The individual making the will is known as the “principal.” The Living Will designates the pre-agreed preferences of the principal and is legally binding upon its signing.
  • The principal can designate another individual known as the “health care agent.” The health care agent (or simply “agent”) is the person who can express the principal’s desires in these medical decisions or even make decisions that the principal does not specify in their Living Will.

Whatever is specified in the Living Will by the principal is legally enforceable per the Pennsylvania statute. If an individual does not wish to be resuscitated under certain circumstances or has any other problems with certain life-saving treatments, this ought to be specified in the Living Will.

Do I Need One?

Many Americans don’t have a Living Will written because they don’t see how having a Living Will benefits them. Because this document carries so much weight to determine an individual’s end-of-life care, it acts as that individual’s voice to their loved ones and a safeguard for their preferences when they no longer have a voice.

Some benefits to writing a living will include:

  • Providing legal guidance in writing to an individual’s doctors and health care agent.
  • Preventing arguments between an individual’s friends and loved ones over their care.
  • Reducing stress for individuals when they are close to death.
  • Specifying how the individual wants to live and die.

Writing a Living Will in advance allows the individual to consider their end-of-life options while they are fully conscious, in possession of a sound mind, and observing their own schedule. The individual can also discuss among their friends and loved ones to determine who they trust to be their agent and who would be capable of the task.

How Olen Law Office Can Help

Don’t wait until it’s too late to create a Living Will. Yardley estate planning lawyers at the Olen Law Office can help you create a comprehensive document that reflects your wishes and ensures that your loved ones have clear guidance on your medical preferences. Our experienced Yardley estate planning and business law attorney is here to assist you every step of the way, from understanding your legal options to drafting and executing your Living Will. A Living Will is a crucial legal document that enables individuals to make decisions about their end-of-life care in advance. Contact us at the Olen Law Office to write your Living Will with a professional today.