What You Should Know About Wills And Trusts
Wills and trusts are complex. Many individuals think they understand each type of estate planning tool, and the reasons why each might be advantageous. However, at Aiello and Associates, we have been helping clients with their estate plans and probate matters for decades. We are able to offer what we consider the top 10 things you should know about wills and trusts.
- A living will is a legal document that declares your wishes regarding the use of life-sustaining treatment should you become incapacitated from a terminal illness or a persistent/permanent vegetative state.
- A living will, in most cases, only becomes effective when you are permanently unconscious or terminally ill, and unable to communicate your wishes regarding life-sustaining treatment.
- A living will cannot be revoked by anybody but you, and you can change it anytime while you have mental competency/capacity.
- Most states have laws providing that a living will’s directives may not be followed if you are pregnant.
- A living will authorizes doctors to follow the instructions contained in the document once a determination of incapacity is made.
- Most states provide that any competent person 18 years of age or older can make a living will by signing it in front of two or more witnesses (who also sign the document attesting that the document was signed in their presence).
- A living will generally only avoids treatment when it is determined that recovery is hopeless and any treatment would only prolong the dying process. Your doctor must first determine if your prognosis fits those criteria before your living will has any effect on medical decisions.
- Because it is difficult to anticipate every medical condition you may face, it is often a good idea to designate an agent to act as a substitute health care decision-maker for you. A health care power of attorney is a document that designates an agent to make health care decisions for an individual.
- Many states have laws that protect health care providers when they use good faith in following stipulations in a valid living will. Some statutes impose criminal penalties on those who act in bad faith.
- A living will is a simple form that may be purchased in most office supply stores. Nevertheless, you should have your attorney review this document. Failing to properly execute a living will means that it will not be recognized and your wishes will not be carried out.
Contact The Firm Today
To learn about wills and trusts, and how they can apply to your situation, call 586-250-5527 today. You can also reach an attorney at our office by reaching out through our online form at any time.