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No one likes to think about what would happen if they sustained a life-threatening injury or illness but taking steps now to make your wishes clear will be a gift to your family should such an event occur. Indiana has legal documents known as advance directives that can take all the guesswork out of the medical decision on your behalf if you cannot communicate. One part of the advance directives is known as the “living will” and it is a legal document that informs your family and friends of what you want to be done in the event your doctor states in writing that life support will only prolong the dying process. While this seems like a horrible thing to think about, it is a positive step to relieve your family of the burden of doubt if and when the situation occurs. You should consult an experienced estate planning attorney in Indiana to go over your goals and options, making your wishes clear so that your family and friends will know what you want to do regarding life support Read on to find out more about living wills in Indiana.
What Is A Living Will?
A living will is a legal document used to communicate your wishes in the event you are in a coma or on life support. The purpose of the living will is to dictate whether or not life-saving measures are used once you pass a certain point in certain situations. People elect to prepare a living will so that their family members know what they want to do if life-sustaining care becomes an issue. A lot of the time, families don’t discuss what each one of them wants if they are put on life support, and it can lead to a great deal of confusion, fear, and frustration. A living will is a gift to your family so that there is no doubt about what you want and what they should do in the event you are on life support.
What Are The Living Will Requirements in Indiana?
Indiana requires that you be of sound mind when you complete the living will, so it is best to take care of it early before you become sick or injured. You will want the living will to be unchallenged, meaning no one can question your mental capacity when you complete the will. It does not take long to complete a living will, so it will not take too much of your time, and you will have it taken care of.
You do not have to have the living will notarized, but it does require witnesses. The witnesses must be eighteen years or older and cannot be related to you in any way. For instance, if you have your husband witness the living will, it could be considered ineffective, and no one will honor it. Use non-relatives as witnesses, and it is best if you do not ask your doctor or any of the doctor’s support staff to witness it to avoid potential confusion or accusations of bias. The living will does not need to be notarized in Indiana.
The living will should have language that states your physician has stated in writing that you have a disease, injury, or illness that will cause your death in a short period of time, and life support will only prolong the death process.
The living will should continue to describe what, if any, care you do agree to receive. The type of care you can accept or decline is nutrition or hydration. There are different options depending on the severity of your situation, but you can accept them in some circumstances and decline them in other circumstances. You will need to make that decision for yourself in your living will.
A living will is usually one of two documents that make up what is commonly referred to as “advance directives.” The advance directive are your directions to your family about what you want to do if you cannot communicate. You will also have a healthcare power of attorney that designates a person, ideally not a relative, who can make healthcare decisions on your behalf. The healthcare power of attorney will not “trump” the living will but rather designate someone who will know about the living will and ensure that the living will is followed if necessary. A healthcare power of attorney will also allow your designated representative to make other decisions on your behalf if you are in a medically induced coma or otherwise unable to communicate when the end-of-life decisions are not on the table. However, it would be best if you still had someone to speak on your behalf. Choose your power of attorney person very carefully; it is recommended that you do not select any of your presumed heirs or beneficiaries to avoid accusations of bias. Have a long talk with your selected representative and make sure they understand what you want to be done in some of the more common scenarios.
Taking the time now to decide what you want to be done in the event of a fatal illness or injury is the right approach to take. . If you are searching for an Indiana estate planning attorney to assist with advance directives or other estates planning like wills or trusts, feel free to give O’Flaherty Law a call, we would be happy to help you.