You may wish to add a living will to an estate plan that includes an advance medical directive. With an advance medical directive, you appoint another person to make health care decisions when you are unable to do so. A living will is typically a companion to an advance medical directive. With a living will, you specify your wishes regarding continuation or termination of life support in cases in which death is imminent. Doctors and hospitals can act on a living will, following your wishes even when you are unable to communicate them.
The Annapolis living will lawyers at Bernstein & Feldman, P.A., can help you understand how a living will fits with your estate plan. We know that this is a difficult subject, but we will ensure that you have the information you need to make the right decision for yourself.
Now Is The Time To Make These Decisions
If you draft a living will, you can request that doctors withhold health care under certain circumstances. A living will must comply with Maryland statutes to be enforceable. Because each doctor and hospital may have different interpretations of a living will, an experienced estate planning attorney should draft this document.
When doctors need to know a patient's intentions regarding life support and Do Not Resuscitate orders, it is unlikely that the patient will be able to make his or her intentions known. With a living will, however, a doctor has this information at the end of a patient's life or in critical medical conditions such as a coma or terminal illness with no reasonable prospect of recovery.
A living will can provide guidance and reassurance to your health care agent and family. If you do not have an advance medical directive or a living will, a hospital may be legally obligated to maintain artificial life support, regardless of what your loved ones claim you would want.
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