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Living Will California

Living Will California

 
A living will is a document specifying what medical steps you would like to be taken if you become terminally ill or injured and are unable to express yourself . In California, this kind of document is known as an “advance health directive.” The California attorney general’s office has prepared a form that anyone can download and fill out without the help of an attorney.
 
 
The first section concerns appointing an agent who can make health care decisions on your behalf. The second section is the actual living will component, labeled “instructions for health care.” You can fill out one or both sections depending on your wishes. The form can also be customized in any way you see fit. You are free to strike out any words or phrases you do not wish to have apply to you. 
 
 
In the second section, you are offered two broad options. The first option outlines the many conditions under which you may request that your life not be prolonged:
 
 
• If the risk or burden of treatment is greater than any potential benefit
 
 
• If you are unconscious and are not expected to regain consciousness
 
 
• If you are terminally ill and are expected to die soon
 
 
Alternately, you may choose to request that your life be prolonged as much as possible, even if your condition cannot be reversed.
 
 
Because this wording is so broad and do not cover all of the complications, you are free to specify in any way you wish which treatments you would not want applied, such as:
 
 
• Dialysis
 
 
• Intravenous food or liquid
 
 
• CPR
 
 
• Artificial respiration
 
 
• Any form of life support that prolongs life without offering the hope of recovery
 
 
Additionally, you may want to specify any number of other issues, such as:
 
 
• What you consider an acceptable quality of life and what kind of threshold must be crossed before you wish to be taken off life support
 
 
• Your religious beliefs and any ceremonies that should be performed during the end of life
 
 
• Treatments you do not want applied because they would be too difficult to undergo
 
 
Below this, there is a section to complete regarding becoming an organ donor after death. You may choose to make any body parts available to those to need them, only selected organs or none at all. You may also specify what these organs can be used for, such as:
 
 
• Research
 
 
• Organ transplants
 
 
• Medical school use
 
 
• Therapy
 
 
The signature of two witnesses is required. At least one of these witnesses must not be related in any way or stand to inherit anything, and neither can be the provider of any health care for the person creating the document. Alternately, a notary public may provide a signature. Nursing home residents must obtain the additional signature of an ombudsman. The document may be revoked at any time, either by destroying the document or orally requesting that it be disregarded.
 
 

Living Will Arizona

Living Will Arizona

 
In the state of Arizona, anyone age 18 or older is entitled to create a living will. This document specifies what medical steps the patient wishes to be taken if they are terminally ill or injured and unable to communicate their wishes. This could be because they are unconscious, mentally incapacitated or otherwise incapable of making a medical decision.
 
 
The Arizona Attorney General’s office provides a standardized living will form anyone can complete without the help of an attorney. This document will be effecitive until it is completed and signed by the person in the presence of either a witness or a notary public. Any witness cannot be related to the person creating the document, either as a family member or through marriage. The person must also be at least 18 years old and cannot be one of the potential heirs or claimants to an estate. 
 
 
The living will contains five options that can be chosen:
 
 
• You may indicate that you only want “comfort care.” This is any kind of medication, such as morphine, that alleviates pain without prolonging life. 
 
 
• You may indicate that you specifically do not want CPR, food or hydration administered through a tube, or that you not wish to be taken to a hospital if that can be avoided. However, you still want comfort care.
 
 
• You may indicate that if you are pregnant you do not want life-sustaining treatment if there is a chance the fetus may still come to term and be given birth to
 
 
• You may indicate that you want treatment of any kind to continue indefinitely until doctors are positive there is no hope of a reversal in your condition
 
 
• You may indicate that you want your life to be prolonged as long as possible, regardless of whether or not there is hope of a cure.
 
 
You may also choose to attach additional special provisions, such as indicating:
 
 
• whether you wish any of your organs to be donated after death to another person 
 
 
• any religious provisions
 
 
• whether you wish for an autopsy to be performed
 
 
Such forms can be revoked or changed at any time as long as the person is still in sound mental health. In this case, any old living wills should be destroyed if possible to avoid any possible future confusion. It is a good idea to give copies of your living will to your physician or another representative. Some people may choose to carry a copy of their living will at all times.
 
 
Physicians must follow the instructions of your living will if it is determined that your condition is terminal. Family members cannot dispute your instructions. However, if there is no living will, family members will be given the option of determining which steps to take. To avoid potential disputes or steps being taken against your wishes, it is a good idea to have a living will prepared.
 
 

Probate Process

Probate Process

When a decedent dies and he, or she, has a will or has assets that fall into intestacy then that decedents estate must go through the probate process.  The probate process is a specific process handled in a specific court, called Probate court in most states, that assesses the property and heirs of a decedent and authorizes the disposition of the estate to the named beneficiaries in a will or through the states laws of descent and distribution.
 
Every states rules pertaining to the probate process are different and your estate planning lawyer should be, not only barred in your state, but also be familiar with the jurisdictions rules pertaining to will formation, descent and distribution and probate process.
 
The first step in a probate process consists of the presentation to the court of the petition for probate.  This lets the court know that the decedent has passed and that the will is ready to be processed.  The estate planning lawyer then must notify all individuals, and representatives, named in the will, as well as legal heirs.  In many states the executor will be required to publicize the petition for probate in a newspaper where the decedent lived.  This gives the opportunity for individuals named, or not named in the will, to object to the processing of the will.  It also gives the opportunity to appoint the executor, administrator, or personal representative.
 
After there is notification to beneficiaries and heirs through mailing and through publication the estate will go to the court for a probate hearing.  The purpose of the hearing is to determine the validity of the will and to appoint an executor.  The hearing during the probate process may also require that the witnesses to the will be required to sign a declaration swearing to the authenticity of the will.
 
Then next step in the probate process will be for the executor, administrator or representative to identify, take possession, and manage the assets of the decedent’s estates.  The executor will then take those assets and pay off any debts owed by the estate to creditors and to the government.  In some cases the executor will have to sell off some of the assets in order to pay off debts.  There are certain rules involved with the selling of assets for the settlement of debts.  Certain bequests may not be touched and others may be accessed depending on the type of account.  Once this is done a report will be filed with the court at which point the court will authorize the division of the decedent’s property. 
 
Once this occurs the executor will start the process of getting property distributed through the will, or intestacy, to the rightful heirs and beneficiaries.  After this is completed the estate will be deemed closed by the court and the estate may no longer be attacked by creditors or by individuals wishing to contest the will.

Living Will Georgia

Living Will Georgia

 
A living will is a document which specifies the medical steps a person wishes to be taken in the event that they are rendered incapable of making a decision. This can occur as the result of a injury or illness that places the person in a terminal condition, with no possible expectation of recovery. Since 2007, in Georgia living wills have become a section of a larger document known as an “advance directive for health care.” This multi-part document not only issues instructions but can also be used to appoint someone else to make decisions on your behalf.
 
 
The living will portion of the document will go into effect if attempts have been made to ascertain your wishes and have not met with success. The Georgia Department of Health has provided a template for people to use. There are two conditions under which your wishes will go into effect:
 
 
• Your condition is terminal, meaning you will die soon as the result of an incurable or irreversible condition.
 
 
• You have entered a permanent coma or are otherwise completely unresponsive to the environment around you.
 
 
There are three treatment options you may specify:
 
 
• You wish your life to be extended as long as possible, even if there is no hope of a cure, using such methods as intravenous feeding and artificial respiration.
 
 
• You wish for a natural death, meaning that all such life-sustaining measures will cease.
 
 
• You only wish for some life-sustaining measures to be taken.
 
 
Because these are very broad specifications, you are encouraged to specify in as much detail as necessary your wishes. For example:
 
 
• You may wish to specify a duration for life-sustaining measures to be taken before they are ceased
 
 
• You can detail which procedures and treatments you would find too burdensome to be undertaken
 
 
• You can define what you consider a reasonable quality of life and at one point you would no longer wish to receive life-sustaining measures
 
 
• If you are religious, detail any procedures you wish to be carried out
 
 
Women who are pregnant are not permitted to be taken off life-sustaining measures unless the fetus is no longer viable.
 
 
Two witnesses must be present when the living will is signed. Neither can be:
 
 
• Someone directly involved in your treatment
 
 
• Anyone you have appointed to act on your behalf to make medical decisions
 
 
• Anyone who will be inheriting anything from your estate after your death
 
 
One of the witnesses can be a medical employee at your facility as long as they are not directly involved in your care. Both witnesses must be at least 18 years of age.
 
 
Once this document has been created, it can be revoked at any time, either by destroying all copies or orally. It is advisable to make sure this document is easily accessible by giving your physician or a family member a copy. Some people may wish to carry a copy of this document with them in case of emergencies.
 
 

Living Will Alabama

Living Will Alabama

 
A living will is a document drawn up by someone to be used in case they fall terminally ill and are unable to make their medical wishes known. This may mean the person is incapable of communication, has been severely mentally impacted and can no longer issue reasonable instructions or is unconscious. In Alabama, this kind of form is known as a “Advance Directive for Health Care.” This form has six sections, though additional instructions can be added at the desire of the person completing it:
 
 
• The actual living will component contains instructions for medical procedures to be followed in the event of terminal illness
 
 
• The second section allows for the person signing to appoint someone as their proxy in case of incapacitation
 
 
• The third section confirms that the person signing understands what they are signing and must be transferred to the care of another physician if the instructions are not followed
 
 
• The fourth section includes the signature and birthdate of the person drawing up the document, as well as the date of signing
 
 
• The fifth section has the signature of two witnesses who cannot be related by marriage or birth. Witnesses are not allowed to be potential heirs.
 
 
• The sixth section has the signature of the appointed proxy, if any.
 
 
By far the most detailed and complicated portion concerns the instructions for a living will. In this section, the person drawing up the document indicates:
 
 
• Whether they wish to receive treatment to prolong their life if they are terminally ill or injured
 
 
• Whether they wish to receive nutrition or hydration intravenously if terminally ill or injured
 
 
• Whether they wish to be kept on a life-support system if they fall into a permanent coma
 
 
Additional instructions can be included, covering in detail procedures to be followed regarding such measures as:
 
 
• CPR
 
 
• Dialysis
 
 
• Artificial respiration
 
 
Two physicians must agree that there is no reason to expect any kind of recovery before the terms of an advance directive can take effect. Advance directives will not be acted upon if the patient is a pregnant female. 
 
 
Because the advance directive is a customizable form, additional instructions may be added covering such areas as religious steps to be taken at the end of life. 
 
 
A person must be at least 19 years of age to draft this kind of document in Alabama. It may be revoked at any time, either by destroying the document or asking another person age 19 or older to destroy the document. It is recommended that a copy of this form be easily accessible at all times in case of emergency. You may want to give a copy to your physician or carry the document on your person. If the person is not in sound mental health, their wishes may be challenged by family. However, physicians who are sure the document is legally valid cannot be prosecuted for following its instructions.
 
 

Living Will Missouri

Living Will Missouri

 
A living will is a document stating the wishes of a person in case they become terminally ill or are otherwise incapacitated and unable to make medical decisions. Missouri’s laws regarding living wills are much stricter than most states. Any living will that is drafted must include a paragraph of language that cannot be customized. This paragraph states:
 
 
• That the person signing the will is authorized to make their own medical decisions
 
 
• That the living will is meant for friends, family and any physicians
 
 
• That if they are struck with a terminal condition, they do not want the dying process to be artificially prolonged
 
 
• That no actions which deliberately speed up death have been authorized
 
 
Such documents do not authorize withholding artificial nutrition or hydration provided through tubes.
 
 
Any person 18 or older may create a living will. Because of the strict limitations surrounding a living will, many people in Missouri may choose to instead create an “advance directive.” This kind of document allows much more specificity in dictating which kind of treatments are to be withheld in specific medical situations. The state of Missouri provides a standardized six-page advance directive form anyone may complete.
 
 
In order for a living will or advance directive to take effect, two physicians must agree that the patient is terminally ill and close to dying. Some of the areas these documents may cover include:
 
 
• Artificial respiration
 
 
• CPR 
 
 
• Artificial nutrition or hydration
 
 
• Dialysis
 
 
• Chemotherapy
 
 
• Antibiotics
 
 
In the body of this document, it is also possible to specify whether you wish for any of your organs to be donated after death to a person in need. This is known as an “anatomical gift.”
 
 
No attorney is necessary to draw up this kind of advance directive. A living will or advance directive may be typed or handwritten. It must be signed by two witnesses who cannot be related to the person outlining their wishes. Alternatively, a notary public may sign the document.
 
 
After the living will or advance directive is drawn up, it is legally binding. Patients who are of sound health may revoke it at any time, either by destroying the documents, drafting a new form or orally. It is advisable to make sure this document is easily accessible. You may want to give a copy to your physician or carry one on your person at all times in case of accident.
 
 
Along with the medical procedures to be followed, an advance directive may contain the following statements:
 
 
• A description of what the person signing feels to be the minimum quality of life to continue medical treatment
 
 
• Instructions about any religious procedures to be followed
 
 
• Messages for friends and family
 
 
Unlike a living will, advance directives can be customized greatly depending on the wishes of the person completing it. Because there are so many variables, it may be advisable to consult with a lawyer if your advance directive becomes complicated.
 
 

Living Will Tennessee

Living Will Tennessee

Guide to Tennessee Living Wills
 
 
A living will is a legally binding document that goes into effect when a seriously ill person can no longer express their wishes. Since 2004, Tennessee’s Health Department has provided a detailed form, known as an “Advance Care Plan,” which patients can complete without the help of an advisor to make their wishes known. 
 
 
Patients may or may not choose to appoint an agent who will make medical decisions on their behalf in case of an emergency. There are four reasons to discontinue life support treatments as defined by the form:
 
 
• You are in a coma and are not expected to ever wake up.
 
 
• Dementia caused by Alzheimer’s or other diseases place you in a state defined as “permanent confusion,” in which you can no longer communicate with others clearly and do not respond with awareness to daily life.
 
 
• An inability to talk, move, bathe or otherwise care for and express oneself in all areas of daily life which has left the patient totally dependent on others
 
 
• A terminal illness such as cancer which has advanced to the final stage and resisted all treatment.
 
 
Patients are allowed to request that the following procedures be applied or discontinued:
 
 
• CPR
 
 
• Artificial life support procedures such as breathing machines and dialysis
 
 
• Any procedure that helps alleviate a new complication through antibiotics, blood transfusions or other measures without helping reverse the main cause of illness
 
 
• Intravenous food and liquid
 
 
In addition to specifically stating your preferences about these matters, you may include additional instructions detailing:
 
 
• Specifying which procedures or medical measures are acceptable and which are too burdensome to agree to
 
 
• Setting fixed durations for certain procedures to be continued
 
 
• Burial arrangements
 
 
• Instructions for hospice care
 
 
You can specify which, if any, organs you would like to make an “anatomical gift” of for the purposes of a transfer or medical school use. 
 
 
The form does not become legally valid until it is signed in the presence of two witnesses age 18 or older, neither of whom can have been appointed to act as an agent by proxy earlier in the form. At least one of the witnesses can be either related to the patient or entitled to any of their estate. Alternately, the document may be signed in the presence of a notary public.
 
 
Once a living will has been completed, a copy should be given to your physician. Additionally, you may wish to carry a copy on your person or in your glove compartment to make sure it is easily accessible in case of an emergency. Once it has been determined that there is no possible hope of recovery for you, physicians must carry out your instructions. If they feel unable to do so, you must be transferred to the care of another doctor or institution who will comply with your instructions. The terms of the living will can be amended or revoked by the patient at any time, either by creating a new document or by oral instruction.
 
 

Florida Living Will

Florida Living Will

 
A Short Introduction to Florida Living Wills
 
 
There are many reasons to draft or have drafted for you a Florida living will. They allow you to dictate what medical treatment you’d like when dictation becomes impossible. For instance, when you are in the final stages of a terminal disease, or you are afflicted with a permanent coma, they are the ideal route for you to end your life with dignity and comfort, all while avoiding any legal battles between your loved ones who differ on whether they’d like you to continue to receive medical treatment. 
 
 
Florida living wills are also sometimes called advance directives, though in truth living wills are just a division of what advance health care directives can be. Since Florida living wills can achieve numerous things, it is important to know all about their different abilities, especially since the stakes regarding completing them correctly are so high.
 
 
Naming Your Health Care Surrogate
 
 
Some advance directives are called “Power of Attorney” and include only this section, though it is also common to roll the “Power of Attorney” into a Florida living will. A health care surrogate is in charge of your medical decisions when you are no longer capable of decision making. Most often, health care surrogates are a person’s family members or loved ones, and they are not allowed to be their doctors or health care providers.
 
 
Of course, since the entire point of a Florida living will is to list your medical decisions, your health care surrogate should hopefully have to make few decisions on their own. You should choose an alternate health care surrogate, in case your primary one is not in a situation where they can help you.
 
 
Health Care Plan
 
 
The most important part of the living will is the section which stipulates whether you’d like your life artificially prolonged when the immediate costs seem to outweigh the gains. Of course, many persons believe in the possibility of miracles, and they can lose their Florida living will to prolong their lives as long as possible in the hopes of reaching a stage of recovery, while others may want to end their lives naturally when it comes clear that their time is at an end. You should stipulate under what conditions your Florida living will should take effect. If you are in a coma? If you have a terminal illness? Remember that it is perfectly acceptable to have down differing answers for different conditions.
 
 
Making a Binding Florida Living Will
 
 
Try to sign your Florida living will in the presence of two others who can be your legal witnesses. Neither of them should be your health care surrogate, if in fact you named one, and at least one of them shouldn’t be your legal relative. That is because at least one witness is not supposed to stand to benefit in any way from your death.
 
 
Additional Information If you’d like to know more about Florida living wills, you should read one for yourself. The Attorney General’s Office in Florida has put up one sample living will for educational purposes or to fill out and sign, as you see fit.
 
 

Living Will Form Georgia

Living Will Form Georgia

 

A Short Summary of Living Will Forms Georgia

In 2007, the state changed living will forms Georgia. Now, instead of having separate documents, one for living wills and one for the durable power of attorney, these two documents have been combined into one, called an Advanced Directive. The law has a grandfather clause to keep older living will forms Georgia binding, but you should also remember that an advanced directive can do all the same good for you that a living will form Georgia can, and even more. Rather than worry about the additional complications provided by the new law, you should enjoy the privileges afforded by new living will forms Georgia and learn more about what they can do for you.

Part 1 of the Living Will Form Georgia

The first thing that a living will form Georgia will ask you to do is name your health care agent. This person will make all of your important health care decisions if you become unable to because of your illness. Since most of your decisions should already be dictated by the living will form Georgia, the health care agent’s job is essentially to enforce the living will. Most health care agents are family members or loved ones; they cannot be your health care provider. 

Remember that naming someone your health care agent gives them access to all of your medical files whenever the living will form Georgia becomes active. You may put some restrictions on your health care agents abilities, as you see fit. You will also be able to name two alternative health care agents if your primary one becomes unavailable.

Part 2 of the Living Will Form Georgia

The second part of the living will form Georgia stipulates those terms of treatment which we normally consider to be the blunt of the duties of a living will form Georgia. First, you will list those conditions under which your living will form Georgia takes effect, principally if you want it to take effect if you have a terminal condition where medical treatment will only buy you a short amount of time, or if you are in a state of permanent unconsciousness. 

After this you will list your treatment preferences. Various conditions will be named and you will state whether you A) want your life extended as long as possible, B) want to die a natural death, or C) have special stipulations which limit but do not entirely restrict the medical treatment you want to receive.  

If you are with child, the living will form Georgia will normally become invalid. The only exception to this is if the fetus is not viable, in which case you still need to show a special request in the living will form Georgia that you want your living will to be carried out.

Part 3 of the Living Will Form Georgia

This is an optional section in which you can dictate who you’d like to have guardianship of you in case the court decides this necessary.

Printing and Signing Your Living Will Form Georgia

Your living will form Georgia must be signed by two witnesses, neither of whom are your health care agent and at least one of whom will not stand to benefit from your estate. The state of Georgia provides sample copies of living wills. Print one here.

Living Will Maryland

Living Will Maryland

Guide to Maryland living wills
 
 
Living wills are documents which specify the wishes of someone who is incapable of expressing themselves because of unconsciousness or terminal illness. Maryland’s laws allow anyone who wishes to create a living will to draft their own. While the attorney general’s office provides a suggested form that people can easily complete with the help of a lawyer, it can be modified in whole or in part. 
 
 
The sample form suggests that those creating a living will by writing about their goals and values behind their decisions regarding end-of-life care. You are then presented with the same three options for three different kinds of scenarios in which you may not be able to express your medical wishes:
 
 
• Two physicians agree that you are going to die shortly and no treatment can be expected to result in a cure
 
 
• You have entered a coma, known as a “permanent vegetative state,” and are not expected to recover consciousness
 
 
• An end-stage condition in which a condition reduces patients to a state of complete medical dependency, such as Alzheimer’s disease
 
 
For each of these conditions, you may choose one of three options:
 
 
• Request that all life-sustaining measures such as artificial respiration be discontinued, along with any intravenous nutrition
 
 
• Request that life-sustaining measures be discontinued except for intravenous nutrition
 
 
• Request that all life-sustaining measures be continued as long as possible
 
 
Women may complete an optional section below specifying what to do in a medical emergency if they are pregnant. Some may choose to request that they be kept alive if the fetus is still viable, though this is not required by Maryland law. Below this is a section known as the “effect of stated preferences.” This effectively allows any health care surrogate you appoint to make decisions on your behalf contradicting the stated preferences of a living will if they feel these are in your best medical interest, or instructs that your preferences should be followed no matter what.
 
 
Two witnesses must be present when you sign the document to attest that you are in sound mental health and were not forced to sign the will against your will. At least one of these witnesses must not be someone who would financially benefit from the death of the living will’s creator, as a heir or otherwise.
 
 
Additional optional sections can be completed or added on to specify whether you wish any or all organs to be donated for medical transplants, use in medical schools or other purposes. You may also specifically list which organs can be taken. 
 
 
A lawyer is not necessary to complete a living will, though some people may wish to consult an attorney if they are extensively writing customized instructions. After completion, a living will can be revoked or replaced at any time. To make sure the living will can be easily found, you should give a copy to your physician or a relative, or carry a copy on your person at all times. 
 
 

Living Will Pennsylvania

Georgia Probate Forms

Ohio Probate Forms

Michigan Probate Forms

Texas Probate Forms