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Pandemic Estate Planning: Why Make a Living Will?

Pandemic Estate Planning: Why Make a Living Will?

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered and affected nearly all aspects of our lives, and we have worked hard to adapt by social distancing, home-schooling, and working remotely. One thing that some people may have overlooked in focusing on trying to stay healthy and survive the day-to-day challenges is thinking about what would happen if they actually got sick. It is understandable; it is far easier to survive each day when you are not also holding space for your own mortality and worst-case scenarios. Unfortunately, in our current climate, and with the virus spreading internationally, contracting COVID-19 is no longer a worst-case scenario, and is now a fairly likely one. Once you get past the initial anxiety of confronting this reality, many people actually find a great amount of relief in knowing that if anything were to happen they have a plan in place. 

What is a Living Will? 

A Florida living will is a healthcare directive that you create to ensure that your wishes for your medical care are honored even if you are incapacitated or unable to communicate them or make decisions for yourself. Unlike other kinds of wills, which allow someone to specify how they want their assets distributed upon their death, a living will involves no property at all. Instead, a living will simply ensure that any wishes you have regarding your medical care are carried out. 

The Benefits of a Living Will During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

If you become incapacitated as a result of serious illness, your family members will likely be tasked with making high-stakes decisions about your health. This can be a highly emotional and difficult task, and it is one that more and more families are facing during the pandemic, as their family members become too sick to make these choices for themselves. Family members often disagree on the appropriate course of action, they may struggle to make decisions from your point of view, and may prioritize what they consider to be life-saving over your personal or religious beliefs, or likewise, honor their own beliefs over life-saving therapies, ultimately making choices for you that you would not make for yourself. 

A living will allows you to make these decisions for yourself with a clear mind so that you can move through life without fear of losing control even if you become medically helpless. You can specify if you do or want to be intubated, put on a ventilator, sustained on life support, receive blood transfusions, and more. You can also appoint a healthcare surrogate whom you trust to make decisions for you in real-time if you are unable to do so. 

Another benefit of living wills is that you can make them at any point during your life and they will not come into effect unless and until you become incapacitated. In other words, there is no harm in making one because if you never become incapacitated, it will never go into effect. 

Talk to a South Florida Estates Attorney 

If you are interested in creating a living will or considering other forms of estate planning, contact the experienced lawyers at the SG Firm today and schedule a consultation. 

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