Do You Need A Living Will?
We know a Will only operates when someone has died. What happens if they are alive but cannot manage their affairs?A document known as a Living Will can solve this problem
As we all age the prospect of organising our financial affairs becomes more relevant than it might be in earlier years. A number of factors pushes us towards this in our daily lives. We may see elderly parents and how their lives are managed. There may be a need for ongoing care and this has to be organised either by the State if there are no immediate dependents or by a family if the elderly person has one.
Up to recently the main emphasis was to get people to make a Will in relation to what their wishes were for their property and assets after their time. In Ireland it is estimated there are fewer than 30% of the population with a valid Will. With people living longer each person considering making a Will should lay out some idea about their longterm care. What happens if they are no longer capable of managing their affairs while they are still alive? Every solicitor has stories about where somebody gets some debilitating illness such as a stroke and they are unable to make arrangements as to how to manage their financial affairs . For this reason it is always better at the time of making a Will to layout provisions what is to be done in relation to their management if they are suffering from any mental or physical condition.
The increase in Alzheimer’s among the population has been noticeable in the past 20 years. These people can no longer provide for themselves and provision must be made for their care and maintenance.
The purpose of a Living Will is that it directs the family and any medical advisers what is to be done in the event of reduced mental capacity. It makes healthcare decisions described in the document signed by the person while they are in good health.
It can outline that you refuse any medical or surgical treatment if it is aimed at needlessly prolonging or sustaining your life. I’m sure we all know of cases where someone diagnosed with some terminal disease has spent the last months of their life going through various types of treatment rather than spending time with the family in their own familiar surroundings. Clear instructions can be laid out in a Living Will.
You can also nominate a trusted person to be consulted about your medical treatment if you’re not able to give instructions yourself.
You can always revoke any Living Will during your lifetime if you change your mind about any aspect of it. There is no great procedure in organising and signing such a Living Will. We recommend that you should have one.
It is as important as a Last Will covering your affairs after you die.
Don’t put it on the long finger!