It is difficult enough to discuss what will happen when we pass on, but it can be even more difficult to discuss what should happen if we become incapacitated while still alive. Despite this, however, that possibility is always present, and it is worthwhile to examine what options you can take to prepare yourself and your loved ones for that possibility. One such option is known as the living will.
A living will is a document that determines the manner in which you wish to be cared for at the end of your life, should you be rendered incapacitated and thus unable to express your desires yourself. This may be due to dementia or some other progressive illness that robs you of your mental capacity, or it may be the result of a sudden injury or ailment that incapacitates you. Either way, a living will establishes the protocol for your treatment and provides guidance for your loved ones at the end of your life.
Without a living will, it will be up to your next of kin or another appointed guardian (such as a medical proxy) to determine how you will be treated. While this may be fine if your loved ones understand your wishes and you trust them to carry them out faithfully, this can be a problem if you are at odds with the people who are supposed to care for you. In such a case, a living will can provide guidance as to how you wish to be treated, when you are no longer able to argue on your own behalf.
If you want to write a living will and explore other estate planning options, please call the experienced attorneys at Wingate, Kearney & Cullen, LLP. We have assisted and advised clients with asset planning and the transfer of wealth and made sure their needs are provided for their entire life. With law offices conveniently located in Brooklyn, New York, and Melville, New York, our lawyers are available to assist residents of the five boroughs of New York City and Nassau and Suffolk County on Long Island with their estate planning needs. If you are looking to develop your own comprehensive estate plan, call (718) 852-5900.