What is a Living Will?
A living will is an estate planning document that details what actions should be taken in cases where severe injury, illness, or disease has rendered a person incapable of making his or her own decisions and the condition is terminal and not reversible. In Colorado, a living will is referred to as a Declaration as to Medical or Surgical Treatment. It is usually a separate document but can also be part of a medical power of attorney document, empowering a pre-selected agent to authorize end-of-life treatments.
Two-Thirds of Americans are Missing Advanced Directives from Estate Planning Document
According to Forbes Magazine, only one-third of Americans have a living will despite the document being highly recommended by both healthcare and legal professionals. A lack of a living will can cause confusion when it comes to your end-of-life wishes, and your wishes may not be followed.
If your estate plan is missing a living will, call Leventhal Lewis at 719-694-3000 to schedule a consultation at our Colorado Springs or Denver offices. We serve the Colorado Springs and Denver metropolitan areas as well as the communities of Castle Rock, Pueblo, and surrounding areas of Colorado.
What Does a Living Will Cover?
A living will allows you to document when life-sustaining procedures should be withdrawn, including the refusal of food and water through tubes, in cases where an injury, illness, or disease is terminal.
A living will can also contain a “do not resuscitate” order and provide directives for after-death wishes such as cremation or burial. Colorado's Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment ("MOST") form includes both a living will and, if applicable, a do not resuscitate order. The forms is not just a directive but a doctor's order. Despite its name, a living will does not cover inheritance, asset division, or similar considerations. These desires are recorded in different legal documents drawn up in a last will and testament or a trust by your estate planning lawyer.
Types of Advance Directives
A living will is an advance directive that removes confusion should you become terminally ill and incapable of advocating for yourself. Other types of advanced directives include:
- Medical power of attorney, authorizing your agent to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become incapacitated
- Do not resuscitate ("DNR") order, preventing medical professionals from restarting the heart or lungs in the event of their failure
- HIPAA release, authorizing specified individuals to find out where you are being treated and for what you are being treated
We Can Help With All Your Estate Planning Needs
The experienced lawyers at Leventhal Lewis can help you create a living will that covers all of your wishes. We have decades of combined experience helping people in and around Colorado Springs and Denver with estate planning needs such as the creation of a will, establishing a trust, and protecting valuable assets. We can also assist with estate planning disputes in a thoughtful and straightforward manner to help reduce tension while working towards the best resolution.
If you live in Colorado Springs, Denver, or surrounding areas of Colorado, call 719-694-3000 to schedule a consultation at Leventhal Lewis today.