Most people know that wills and trusts are for upholding the final wishes of the deceased. These documents ensure that loved ones properly inherit assets, establish a guardianship, and help avoid lengthy probate procedures. If wills and trusts are this useful, what exactly does a living will do?

There is a lot to know about estate planning, which makes it easy to miss some parts. You can learn more about living wills, or healthcare directives, here:

What does a living will do?

A living will is a legal document that tells others precisely what your wishes are regarding specific medical situations. A living will could specify whether or not you want to be resuscitated under certain circumstances, whether or not you consent to particular amputations, if you want to be an organ donor, what kind of pain medication you do not want, and even what types of treatments or therapies you would consent to. A health care directive can be as specific or detailed as the testator’s wishes.

Why would I need one?

Although it is not common, there can be certain accidents or tragedies that cause you to be unable to act or speak on your own volition. If you should ever fall into a coma, or become physically or mentally unable to express your wishes, medical professionals and your friends and family will turn to any healthcare directive you left behind for guidance. What makes these documents valuable is their ability to remove the obligation of choosing for you from your loved ones.

Where do I start?

Anyone can benefit from an estate plan, and anyone can benefit from a living will. No matter what age you are, if you do not have a thorough estate plan in place, now was the time to create one. Consult with an estate planning attorney today to ensure that you are prepared for the future.