A living will is an essential legal document that expresses any medical treatment preferences in the unfortunate event that you cannot communicate your wishes yourself. As such, a living will is quite different from a last will and testament, but instead, it generally serves to express medical interventions, some after-death preferences, and other related issues. These documents can, therefore, be crucial to the financial and emotional well-being of your family.
To protect your estate and the financial health of your family, contact the New York City living wills attorneys at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier today. We are fully prepared to help draft and manage your living, while ensuring that your wishes are followed in the event of serious illness, accident, or another event where you cannot reasonable express your medical wishes.
What Your Living Will Should Include
A living will only becomes effective when you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you are engaged in end-of-life treatment, or you are unable to speak for yourself. Although New York State doesn’t have specific statutes governing the legal issues surrounding a living will, there are a few common guidelines that ensure its efficacy. In short, the Court of Appeals, New York’s highest court, has stated on numerous occasions that a living will is legally valid as long as it provides “clear and convincing” evidence of your wishes.
Process of Creating a Living Will
The first step in creating a living will is to contact an experienced estate planning and wills lawyer who fully understands (and is able to implement) the process of creating a living will. Through a competent lawyer, you can minimize the risk of family members contesting your will and strengthen its directives to ensure “clear and convincing” evidence of your wishes. Below you’ll find a simple plan to creating your living will.
- Understanding the Authority of the will. It is important to understand what a living will can/cannot do. As explained above, living wills include directives regarding your health care wishes, and they should include information about preferred physicians, end-of-life treatment (such as life support systems), medical treatments you may or may not want, and so forth.
- Writing the will. Once you understand and have thought about your preferred health care directives, you can begin writing the will. Include information about end-of-care life. If you wish to be kept alive via breathing or feeding tube, you need to include a section specifically stating this wish. A will lawyer can be helpful in preparing and identifying a range of hypothetical issues. With this method, you can clearly state any health care treatments you’d wish to avoid as well.
- Signing the will. You should have at least two witnesses present when you are signing the will. Also, you should sign a statement on the will that shows your independent willingness to sign the will. Although not necessary in New York, having the will notarized only strengthens its directives.
Contact the New York Estate Lawyers at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier
A living will can be a highly beneficial document, and it can serve to protect both you and your family if you are seriously injured, ill, or cannot communicate your health care wishes with a conscious understanding of your circumstances. At Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier, we’ve helped thousands of individuals in the Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens areas create and file strong, fail-proof living wills.