A living will is a document that serves as an advanced directive regarding the disposition of your assets and powers. This isn't radically different from what people think of wills doing, except that a living will addresses things that might happen while you're still alive. You might wonder what a living will ought to address, so here are three big legal items for you to handle with one.
One of the most common arguments for using these kinds of wills is to provide medical directives. Specifically, you'll want to address questions about what happens if you're unable to make your own medical decisions. If someone falls into a coma following surgery, for example, they may need to state how much life-sustaining care they'd prefer. Many people don't want doctors to draw out the process, especially if the only thing that would be keeping them alive is a machine. Other folks may want all of the care possible.
Similarly, you might need to set down directives regarding who gets to make critical medical decisions. If you're unconscious but otherwise alive and self-sustaining, for example, who should make decisions regarding additional treatments?
Folks also frequently worry about the disposition of business powers. Even if you own a small business, you have the right to worry about who would run it while you're out of action or recovering. For example, the owner of a business might undergo brain surgery. They could direct specific people to handle the company's affairs in their absence. Likewise, they might outline the conditions for their return and how they can invoke them to take back power.
Personal Assets and Liabilities
Who handles your assets and liabilities if you're not able to? Suppose you disappeared while on a trip. There is still hope that you'll be found, but you don't want your financial life wrecked while you're gone. This kind of directive can be useful for travelers and business people who move around frequently. It also may benefit folks who go to regions with a high risk of kidnappings or disappearances.
Just as you would appoint someone in your estate to manage things if you pass, you can create a similar administrative role if you're unavailable. That person would then have a fiduciary obligation to preserve your assets as much as possible. Once more, you'd also need to outline the requirements for revoking these powers once you return.
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