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Living Will Attorney

As leading estate planning attorneys in Denton, Texas, Hunter Sargent, PLLC, has helped countless clients secure their legacies and protect their families’ financial futures. Schedule an appointment online to get started. 

Everyone deserves to age in comfort and with dignity. However, that’s not always what happens — especially when a person fails to communicate their medical preferences. Fortunately, careful estate planning can help ensure that your end-of-life care aligns with your desires. Estate planning, though often financial in nature, isn’t just about securing your legacy. It’s also about making sure that if the time ever comes when you are unable to advocate for yourself, there are mechanisms in place to carry out your wishes. One of the most effective estate planning tools for accomplishing this is called a living will. This article will explain everything you need to know about a living will attorney, the benefits of creating a living will, and the requirements for doing so, and how an experienced estate planning attorney can help. Ready to create a living will? Instead of Googling “living will attorney near me,” save yourself some time and contact Denton’s finest: Hunter Sargent, PLLC. Our law firm has the experience, resources, and expertise to design a top-tier, comprehensive strategy.

Hunter Sargent, PLLC: Trusted Estate Planning Lawyers in Denton, Texas

After you understand the importance of a living will, you may feel urgency to create one. While it can be tempting to select the first result after searching “living will attorney near me,” it may not yield the type of high-quality legal services you deserve. Luckily, you don’t have to search too far to find an dedicated attorney — Hunter Sargent, PLLC, is right around the corner. Ready to secure your future together? Schedule a consultation with a passionate estate planning professional today.

What Is a Living Will?

A living will, sometimes referred to as an advance directive or advance health care directive, is a legal document that outlines a person’s medical preferences. It details the types of medical treatment they want to receive or refuse to receive in the event they become unable to communicate their wishes because of illness or incapacity. A living will typically includes directives regarding life-sustaining treatment, such as ventilators, resuscitation, do not resuscitate (DNR) orders, organ donations, feeding tubes, and other medical interventions. It serves as a guideline for both healthcare providers and family members, removing some of the guesswork in hard decisions. It is one of the most effective tools for ensuring an individual’s preferences and wishes are respected when they are at their most vulnerable.

The Benefits of Creating a Living Will

Establishing a living will offers numerous advantages to all parties involved: the individual, their family members, and the healthcare providers. The following are among the most notable benefits conferred by this document: Protecting individual preferences: The primary purpose of a living will is to ensure an individual’s wishes regarding medical care are respected and followed. Reducing the family’s burden: In the absence of a living will, family members are sometimes forced to make difficult decisions without knowing what their loved one would have wanted. This can lead to conflict between family members and exacerbate traumatic situations — both of which can be avoided with a living will. Avoiding unwanted medical treatments: In creating a living will, an individual must consider a range of potential medical situations and specify their preferences. Doing so allows them to avoid unwanted medical treatments. Aiding in healthcare decisions: A living will offers valuable insight to healthcare providers, facilitating quicker decision-making, higher quality of care, and more patient satisfaction. Legal clarity: In providing explicit wishes of the patient, a living will offers legal clarity and protection to both healthcare providers and family members. Peace of mind: Family members often struggle to make hard decisions that relate to their loved one’s medical care. A living will can provide much-needed peace of mind to family members and loved ones, reducing their anxiety about making the wrong decisions about medical interventions. Financial planning: In creating a living will, an individual not only communicates their preferences but also protects their family members and beneficiaries from wasting large amounts of money on unwanted medical interventions. Ultimately, a living will offers numerous benefits to multiple parties. However, the effectiveness of this estate planning document depends on the quality of the attorney drafting it and their knowledge of the legal system.

How to Create a Living Will

When you’re ready to create your living will, you can do an internet search for a “living will attorney near me.” However, online searches don’t always yield high-quality results. The estate planning attorneys at Hunter Sargent, PLLC, can help you create a rock-solid living will as part of a comprehensive estate plan. Together, we’ll take the following steps: Understand your medical options: A dedicated estate planning lawyer can help you understand the various medical treatments and interventions available and consider the circumstances in which they might become necessary. Reflect on your values: In order to plan your end-of-life care and other treatment options, you need to reflect on your values. An attorney can help you explore your views on matters related to quality of life, independence, pain management, and more. Consult with healthcare providers: Your attorney can also facilitate conversations with healthcare professionals so that you can understand the implications of various medical decisions and how they relate to specific medical conditions. Choose a trusted healthcare proxy: As part of creating a living will, you will need to appoint a health care power of attorney for healthcare decisions. This appointment is extremely important and should be someone you trust to carry out your wishes under pressure. Draft legal documents: After you’ve organized your thoughts, goals, and appointments, your attorney can draft the necessary legal documents to complete your living will. Even small omissions and errors can render legal documents unenforceable, which is why it’s critical to partner with an experienced legal professional. Ensure legal compliance: Your living will attorney will also ensure that all documents comply with the legal requirements of your state and local jurisdiction. This often includes having estate planning documents witnessed or notarized. Distribute your living will: After your living will is in full legal effect, your attorney can send copies to your healthcare proxy, family members, and healthcare providers so that everyone is on the same page about your wishes. Update regularly: Most legal documents need to be updated routinely in accordance with an individual’s changing preferences and goals. Your living will lawyer can make sure that your estate planning documents evolve to reflect your current wishes. It’s important to understand that not all living wills are equally valid. The specific requirements for a living will vary by jurisdiction, which is why it’s important to partner with an experienced Denton estate planning lawyer to draft and validate yours.

Requirements of a Valid Living Will

In order to be legally valid and enforceable, your living will needs to include several key elements. A dedicated legal professional can ensure your living will meets the necessary legal requirements in Texas, including the following criteria: Your age and mental capacity: In order to be considered valid, a living will’s creator must be of legal age and have the mental capacity to make informed healthcare decisions. Voluntary creation: Legal documents must be created voluntarily, without external pressure or coercion from other parties.

Witnessing: In Texas, a living will must be signed in the presence of two qualified adult witnesses to be valid. However, there are various witness restrictions that apply, which you can read here. 

Notarization: Texas law does not require living wills to be notarized in order to be considered valid. However, notarization does convey an additional layer of protection and validity, which is why some Texas residents choose to notarize theirs. Legal compliance: Your living will lawyer will ensure your living will complies with specific jurisdictional criteria, as well as Texas requirements. They will also ensure your living will does not conflict with other legal documents, such as a durable power of attorney for healthcare. Accessibility: Even an ironclad living will is ineffective unless it’s accessible to those who might need it, such as family members, healthcare proxies, and medical professionals. Your attorney can advise these parties of your living will’s existence and distribute it to them. At the end of the day, there’s a lot more to creating a valid living will than simply drafting a document. In order to be considered valid, effective, and enforceable, it needs to meet various requirements. Luckily, you don’t have to navigate the legal complexities of this process alone.

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The best time to plan your legacy was 10 years ago. The next best time is today. Everyone needs estate planning - the good news is it's never too early and if you're reading this, it's not too late.

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    While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. Any communication with Hunter Sargent, PLLC via e-mail or through this website does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship and is not privileged or confidential.