What is a Living Will in Washington?
Nobody wants to think about the end of life and it is easy to put it off, particularly for those who are young and healthy. However, careful planning can ensure that your final wishes are fulfilled and that you are treated with dignity. While living wills are an important part of any estate plan, they are largely misunderstood. Below, one of our Kennewick living wills and advance directives lawyers explains more about these important legal documents.
Living Wills vs. Last Will and Testaments
A living will is a formal legal document that allows you to decide about any life-sustaining treatment you want to receive in the future. A living will becomes effective if you suffer from a terminal illness or are permanently unconscious. A living will can also outline the life-saving treatments you do not want to receive.
Some people confuse living wills with a last will and testament, but the two are very different from each other. A last will and testament is a document that outlines how you want your money and other property distributed after you pass away. A living will, on the other hand, has nothing to do with possessions. Instead, they only address end-of-life matters.
Changing a Living Will
Just as it is possible to change a last will and testament, you can also make changes to a living will once you have drafted it. Whether you are just changing a portion of your living will, or terminating it altogether, you should notify anyone else you may have given a copy to. These individuals may include members of your family, your doctor, and anyone involved in your medical care.
Requirements for Living Wills in Washington
Your living will must be in writing and at least two witnesses over the age of 18 years old must sign it or it must be notarized. There are other rules for signing a living will when witnessess are being used. These are as follows:
- Witnesses must confirm that you wish to sign the living will and that you currently have the mental capacity to execute the document.
- You cannot act as a witness for your own living will.
- Your healthcare provider, nor anyone they employ, can act as a witness for your living will.
- At least one of the witnesses should not be related to you through marriage, blood, or adoption.
- The witnesses must watch you sign the living will.
- You must watch the witnesses sign the living will.
Where to Store a Living Will
You can store your living will with the other important documents pertaining to your estate plan. These documents should be stored somewhere it will be easy for others to find them. It is generally not recommended that you store a living will in a safety deposit box, as this will probably not be accessed until after you have already passed away.
Our Living Wills and Advanced Directives Lawyer in Kennewick Can Provide the Legal Advice You Need
Drafting a living will may seem straightforward, but it is not. There are many things to consider and many important decisions to make. At Moulton Law Offices, P.S., our Kennewick living wills and advanced directives lawyer can help you through this difficult time and offer advice that will help you now and in the future. Call us now at 509-328-2150 or contact us online to book a consultation and to learn more.