Living Will Attorneys in Melrose, MA Assisting Individuals to Plan for Their Medical Needs
The most common name for a Living Will is Advance Health Care Directive. It is a document that allows an individual to express their personal wishes regarding medical treatment should they become terminally ill or otherwise incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. However, in most cases, they are typically only used when an individual is considered to be near the end of life. They differ from a Last Will and Testament in that they do not make determinations as to where the personal property should go after an individual’s death.
The main objective of the Living Will is to state an individual’s preferences regarding future medical treatment in life-threatening situations. One of the most important aspects of a living will is the expressed desire or lack thereof for certain life-saving treatments to be administered should the situation warrant it. Many individuals also use a Living Will to specify their religious preferences. These directions help you to take the guesswork out of making potentially life-altering decisions in regard to medical treatments for your family members and medical practitioners.
Is a Living Will Legally Binding in Massachusetts?
A Living Will is not legally binding in the State of Massachusetts. It is meant to be a guide from which a health care agent or proxy makes decisions and directs medical care should an individual be unable to do so.
There are some general guidelines that must be followed in order for a Living Will to actually take effect. First, a physician must certify that an individual is incapacitated or does not have the ability to speak for themselves. In addition, they must be suffering from a terminal illness from which there is no chance of recovery.
What is the Difference Between a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament?
The main difference between a Living Will and a Last Will and Testament is that a Living Will only specifies future medical decisions and other treatments that should or should not be used if the creator of the document cannot speak for themselves.
Conversely, a Last Will and Testament is a legal document that outlines how an individual wishes for their property and other assets to be divided after their death. A Last Will and Testament is considered to be a legal document, whereas a Living Will serves more as a guide as to what type of medical treatments the creator of the will prefers.
Is a Living Will the Same as Having a Health Care Proxy?
A health care proxy is the designation of another individual to make medical decisions when a person is unable to do so for themselves. It is frequently referred to as medical power of attorney. The health care proxy acts as your health care agent in that they have the legal authority to make decisions regarding serious healthcare issues should you be incapacitated.
A Living Will, on the other hand, is meant to be the guide that the health care proxy can use in order to make decisions that often deal with end-of-life care or other life-saving measures. Creating a Living Will enables you to list all of your desires regarding treatments and takes away much of the guesswork and uncertainty that a health care proxy may experience when attempting to make decisions on our behalf.
Are There Potential Benefits to Creating a Living Will in Massachusetts Even Though it is Not Legally Binding?
One of the most important benefits of creating a Living Will is that it can serve as a frame of reference for a health care proxy. The role of a health care proxy can be overwhelming if they are uncertain as to what medical treatments or procedures the ill patient would want to receive.
If for some reason, an individual was injured in another state that does not legally recognize Living Wills, it could still be used by family members in order to help medical providers make decisions that align with the patient’s wishes.
By creating a Living Will, an individual has a good opportunity to have conversations with their loved ones that might otherwise be difficult to discuss. All too frequently, an individual may become terminally ill, and their families and close friends lack certainty as to what type of medical decisions they would desire.
How Can a Living Will Attorney Help Me Plan for the Future?
Even though a Living Will is not considered to be legally binding in Massachusetts, it is still a good idea to discuss it with an attorney. The attorneys of the Martino Law Group, LLC, can explain your rights and legal options and give you information with regard to estate planning that can prove to be very valuable to you in preparation for your future.
Life is not always certain, and it is best to be prepared for any type of circumstance that may come our way. The attorneys of the Marino Law Group recognize that it is not pleasant to think about possibly being incapacitated, having a terminal illness, and not being able to make medical decisions for yourself. Nonetheless, one of the best things that you can do for your family is to adequately prepare ahead of time so that our families do not have to guess as to our wishes concerning medical treatment.
Contact the Martino Law Group, LLC, by calling our law offices at (781) 531-8673 and schedule a free consultation with a member of our experienced legal team. We can discuss the various options and benefits of having a living will, along with other legal steps that you can take to ensure that your final wishes are carried out.