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Making a Living Will
A Living Will is a legal document that outlines your wishes with regard to health care, such as your request for or refusal of certain medical treatments or procedures, along with the (optional) selection of a chosen agent or decision maker.
The individual making a Living Will is known as the "principal," and the individual or entity receiving authority to carry out the principal's wishes is called the "agent." Any Living Will form from Rocket Lawyer can be modified to address your unique scenario. As a result of this legal document, your health care providers will have a point of reference for your decisions, and your agent(s) will be able to provide confirmation that they have the authority to make choices for you.
It's fast and simple to record your medical wishes using a free Living Will template from Rocket Lawyer:
This solution, in most cases, would be notably less expensive than meeting and hiring a traditional lawyer. If necessary, you can start this Living Will on behalf of an elderly parent, a spouse, or another family member, and then help that person sign once you've drafted it. Keep in mind that for this document to be accepted as legally valid, the principal must be a mentally competent adult when they sign. In the event that the principal has already been declared incompetent, a court-appointed conservatorship generally will be necessary. When managing this situation, it is a good idea for you to work with a lawyer.
Every adult ought to have a Living Will in place. Though it may be difficult to acknowledge, a time may come when you can no longer make healthcare decisions on your own. Common circumstances in which you may consider it helpful to make or update your Living Will include:
Regardless of whether this Living Will has been prepared as part of a forward-looking plan or created as a result of a recent change in your health, notarization and/or witnesses can help to protect your document if its authority is disputed by a third party. Please note that this document is not valid during pregnancy in all states.
It's important that your family members and care providers know your preferences for end-of-life care. When you have a Living Will, you're making your wishes clear. It's difficult to think about potentially devastating situations, but preparation is key. If you haven't put your choices in writing, your family members may be forced to make tough decisions for you.
Any person over age 18 may create a Living Will. Common reasons that individuals create a Living Will include:
To designate a specific person to make health care decisions for you.
The possibility of surgery or hospitalization.
Desire to state your wishes so that it is more likely that they will be carried out.
Diagnosis of a terminal condition with no hope of recovery.
A Living Will concerns medical decisions to be made while you are alive whereas a Will (Last Will and Testament) typically concerns the distribution of your assets and guardianship of your minor children after you pass away.
A Living Will typically has a more narrow focus and directly communicates your end-of-life healthcare decisions, while a Durable Power of Attorney grants authority to an agent to make decisions and take action on your behalf, such as managing your finances, your real estate, or your business. Similar to a Living Will, a Durable Power of Attorney is valid even after you are no longer able to communicate or make decisions on your own.
Making a Living Will is typically simple to do; however, you or your agent could still need advice. Getting a second opinion on your document can take a lot of time if you do it alone. Another approach would be through the On Call network. Rocket Lawyer Premium members are able to request guidance from an attorney with relevant experience or pose other questions. As always, you can live confidently knowing that Rocket Lawyer is here by your side.
The fees associated with finding and hiring your average attorney to draft a Living Will can add up to anywhere between $200 and $1,000, depending on where you are. Rocket Lawyer is not your average Living Will template provider. With us, anyone under a Rocket Lawyer membership can take advantage of up to a 40% discount when hiring an attorney from our On Call network.
Your Living Will form has its own set of suggested next steps to take after your document is completed. With a Premium membership, you may edit it, save it as a Word or PDF file, print it out, or sign it. Finally, you should ensure that your agent(s), care providers, and other impacted parties get their copy of your final document.
The specific requirements for Living Wills will vary by state; however, it is highly encouraged to have your Living Will signed by at least one witness and/or acknowledged by a notary public in order to reinforce the legitimacy of the document. As a basic standard, your witnesses will need to be at least 18 years old, and none of them should simultaneously be designated as your agent.
Yes. Simply select your state from the menu above, or choose a specific state from the list below:
Last reviewed or updated 09/28/2021