When you think of the preparation of legal documents, if you’re like most people, you think about the cost. After all, hiring an attorney is not cheap. But there’s some good news.
Preparing advance medical directives does not require the assistance of an attorney. And advance directives, commonly known as living wills, can be readily found online.
Not only do you not require the services of an attorney but an advance directive becomes legally valid once it is completed and signed in the presence of the required witnesses. However, prior to completing any advance directives there are some important things to take into consideration.
Know the guidelines when completing advance medical directives
You have the liberty to decide what you want to do with regard to medical treatments in end of life situations. But you must have a valid advance directive completed and follow any required guidelines.
You must have the proper form – State laws vary as to what information is required on living will forms. These nuances require that you have state specific living will documents. The definitions of medical conditions and states of being can be interpreted differently by different States. So investing a couple of dollars in the correct living will documents can save you some heart ache down the road.
You must follow the guidelines regarding witnesses – The need to have your advance medical directive witnessed can vary from State to State. More than one witness may be required or in some cases having your forms notarized is a must.
Once your advance directive is completed
Once you have completed a living will you will need to appoint a health care surrogate or surrogates by completing a medical power of attorney. Once your documents are completed you should keep a copy and distribute a copy to your health care surrogate, your doctor and any trusted family friends or clergy.
If you change your mind about your end of life wishes or need to change your health care surrogate you can simply complete another advance directive and power of attorney forms.
Everyone should have an advance medical directive to make their wishes known and protect their family. With the availability of state specific legal documents online for very little investment you really have no excuses.