February 4th, 2011
Recently, The South Florida Gay News.comÂ posted a significant article, “Beyond Living Well is a Living Will” by Jarret Terrill about the importance of preparing a living will. This article highlights the challenges people may face without a living will, a form of an Advance Care Directive.
Advance medical directives pertain to treatment preferences and allow you to appoint someone you trust (a family member, close friend, or partner) - to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself.
A living will is a written document that specifies what types of medical treatment are desired. A health care proxy names a specific person to make health care decisions for you when you canâ€™t make them for yourself.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
“Many gay men and women are faced with anti-gay family members that they would not entrust an â€œend of lifeâ€ decision to. Without a living will issuing advance directives, Florida hospitals would be bound by law to follow the directives of distant family members over a loverâ€™s wishes.
A living will, also known as an Advance Care Directive, is a document that tells doctors, attorneys and law enforcement which person in your life is responsible for executing decisions youâ€™ve made about your healthcare if you are unable to speak for yourself.
Says Daniel W. Humbert, a Fort Lauderdale Attorney who has developed a specialty in estate planning, Â â€œa General Power of Attorney is very broad in scope and tends to give the Attorney-In-Fact (the person you designate) the power to do virtually anything. A living will is quite different.â€
Humbert says that a living will is â€œwhere you can express your wishes for what they call extraordinary life-saving measures. This would be particularly important for a person who becomes incompetent or goes into a coma or something like that.â€
â€œA living will is essential for everybody, but itâ€™s particularly important to the gay community,â€ says Humbert. Â Laws and regulations concerning those extraordinary circumstances and the decision-making process favor family members. Since the legal definition of a family member varies from state to state, this can pose a problem if you donâ€™t have a living will.”
Without legal documents you are at risk of not having your wishes carried out in the event that something unexpected occurs. If you are in a committed relationship, you may want your significant other to be able to make medical and legal decisions for you, should you unable to make them yourself.Â You would like to plan for the future of your family to ensure they are taken care of when you are gone. Even if you are not in a committed relationship, you want to make decisions about your own life and future without unwanted intrusions from others.
LegalOut’s online resource center provides the LGBT community with affordableÂ legal document solutions.Â We provide easy-to-use tools for customizing your documents online, in the privacy of your own home, at your own pace and provides hundreds ofÂ do-it-yourself legal documents includingÂ living wills,Â domestic partnership agreements,Â power of attorney documents,Â last will and testament, and many others.
By planning now you can feel comfortable that you, your family and your future are taken care of exactly the way you envision.