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When to Update Your Living Will

June 8th, 2011

Be sure to review your Living Will periodically. Living Wills are easily modified to reflect changes in your health, finances, or perspective on end-of-life care. Even if your wishes don’t change, a Living Will should be regularly updated to take into account changes in medical technology. Consider updating your Living Will when you need to:

  • Change or set limits on medical care to meet your ability to pay
  • Respond to changes in medical technology
  • Respond to a change in health care laws
  • Respond to a changes in your health, including: decline, terminal diagnosis, possibility of surgery and hospitalization, or pregnancy
  • Designate a different person to make health care decisions for you
  • Move to a new state
  • Respond to changes in your beliefs and wishes concerning end-of-life care
  • Respond to the death of a loved one or significant other

Remember that new documents will generally supersede old ones - in other words, executing a new Living Will has the effect of revoking a prior Living Will.

Update your Living Will with LegalOut.

Article by RocketLawyer.

Living Will

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Protect Your Wishes and Family

March 31st, 2011

Happy Spring. LegalOut wishes you a bountiful & joyous spring!

A new spring brings the traditional spring cleaning, a good time to organize, decide on priorities, and get your home in order. Spring is also an excellent time to review your legal situation and make sure that you have essential legal documents to ensure your wishes and family are protected. Check out some important legal documents below or for more information or other legal documents visit Create Legal Docs>>

Prepare Legal Documents

Last Will and Testament
Protect Your Loved Ones: A Will is a document under which a Will writer states his or her intentions regarding the persons or organizations (”Beneficiaries”) who will receive the Will writer’s property, and the person or organization (”Executor”) who will carry out the Will writer’s wishes. Click here to prepare a Last Will and Testament>>

Living Will/Advance Directive for Healthcare
Protect Your Wishes: A Living Will authorizes an agent of your choosing to communicate your life-support decisions to medical personnel in the event that you are unable to do so. A Living Will spares your family the anguish of making life-support decisions without your input. A Living Will also ensures that your doctor understands your end-of-life wishes and treats you accordingly.Click here to prepare a Living Will/Advance Directive for Healthcare>>

Domestic Partnership Agreement
Protect Your Partnership: A Domestic Partnership Agreement is a document that a couple can enter into to dictate their contractual rights as a couple. It is also used to outline the responsibilities of each partner when a couple decides to form a long-term committed relationship, such as how to share income and pay bills and whether property is meant to be jointly or individually owned. Click here to prepare a Domestic Partnership Agreement>>

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Why a Living Will is Important

February 4th, 2011

Recently, The South Florida Gay News.com 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 can’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 “end of life” 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 lover’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 you’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,  “a 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.”

Humbert says that a living will is “where 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.”

“A living will is essential for everybody, but it’s particularly important to the gay community,” says Humbert.  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 don’t have a living will.”

Click here to read the entire article>>

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.  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.

Prepare Legal DocumentsLegalOut’s online resource center provides the LGBT community with affordable legal document solutions.  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 of do-it-yourself legal documents including living wills, domestic partnership agreements, power of attorney documents, 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.

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Give the Gift of Estate Planning!

December 17th, 2010

Christmas GiftsThe 2010 holiday season is upon us which means holiday dinners, holiday travel and shopping for gifts. A gift to consider this holiday season is the gift of estate planning. Legal documents provide you and your loved ones with a peace of mind.

LGBT individuals especially need to be proactive to ensure that their plans for the future reflect their own wishes and are not dictated by laws that do not fit their life and relationships. Did you know that unless otherwise specified in many states, probate laws generally provide if a person dies without a Will, their property goes to family, rather than a partner they had a relationship with for years and the state determines who gets your assets, not you. Without an estate plan, your loved ones would have the burden to decide what your wishes are in times of crisis. Preparing legal documents will secure your wishes and help loved ones know what your intentions are during times of crisis.

Give the gift of estate planning for yourself or loved ones and you’ll have peace of mind for many holidays to come.

Let LegalOut help you give the gift of estate planning, visit our legal documents center.

Top Reasons Individuals Put Off Preparing Legal Documents

Often times, people put off creating legal documents. We know we need to do something, but we wait. Why do we wait? Here are some common reasons why we defer making a decision:

  • We do not want to think about dying or being incapacitated.
  • We do not know where to begin.
  • We think we do not have any assets. People assume they have to be rich or married with children to create a Will.
  • We procrastinate- people know they need to create an estate plan but put it off.
  • Legal costs are high.

Can you identify with one of these reasons of putting off estate planning? 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.  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 can help you avoid putting off creating legal documents. LegalOut’s online resource center provides the LGBT community with affordable legal document solutions.  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 of do-it-yourself legal documents including living wills, domestic partnership agreements, power of attorney documents, 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.

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Who Should Consider Estate Planning in the LGBT Community?

November 11th, 2009

Who needs legal documents?
Everyone, but especially those in the LGBT community, considering the lack of rights afforded to this group by the state and federal government. In a crisis, it’s difficult to think clearly - making sure these important decisions and wishes are thought out beforehand will provide a valuable source of comfort, instead of stress. Estate planning can be used to create a strong legal structure that defines your wishes.

My state offers some legal protection to same-sex couples. Do I still need legal documents?
Yes, for several reasons. Should you require hospitalization and run into staff unfamiliar with the law, you’ll need your wishes and rights clearly defined in your legal documents. Or suppose you travel across state lines and have a medical emergency that requires hospitalization. The same rights you’re afforded in your own state may not apply there. In addition, because the federal government gives no recognition to same-sex relationships, the more proactive you are in defining your wishes - no matter where you live - the better.

I am single. Do I need legal documents?
Absolutely. No matter where you are in life, you’ll always benefit from taking control and being proactive about your protection. Plus, there’s never a wrong time to start planning your estate. Even if you don’t have a partner, you can designate the person you trust most to be your beneficiary and act as your agent in times of crisis.

I am in a committed gay/lesbian relationship. Do I need legal documents?
Yes. 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. You would like to plan for the future of your family to ensure they are taken care of when you are gone.

At a minimum, any basic estate plan should include the following documents (click the link to learn more about the document):

How does LegalOut work?
It only takes three easy steps to safeguard your rights:

1. Select the documents that are right for you.
2. Review your documents using our simple online tools.
3. Finalize your documents. We’ll give you clear instructions at every step of the way.

Safeguard your relationship, secure your financial, property and health care rights by taking action now with LegalOut’s estate planning legal documents.

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Obama says he, first lady have ‘living wills’ - Do you?

August 6th, 2009

President Obama discussed the importance of preparing a Living Will at an online forum on health care sponsored by AARP on July 28, 2009:

“The problem is right now most of us don’t give direction to our family members and so when we get really badly sick, sadly enough, nobody is there to make the decisions.

And then the doctor, who doesn’t know what you might have preferred, they’re making decisions, in consultation with your kids or your grandkids, and nobody knows what you would have preferred.

So I think the idea there is to simply make sure that a living will process is easier for people — it doesn’t require you to hire a lawyer or to take up a lot of time.

… But it’s actually a useful tool I think for a lot of families to make sure that if, heaven forbid, you contract a terminal illness, that you are somebody who is able to control this process in a dignified way that is true to your faith and true to how you think that end-of-life process should proceed.

You don’t want somebody else making those decisions for you. So I actually think it’s a good idea to have a living will . I’d encourage everybody to get one. I have one. Michelle has one. And we hope we don’t have to use it for a long time, but I think it’s something that is sensible.” (For full transcript visit the White House Briefing Room)

A Living Will (also known as an Advance Healthcare Directive or just Advance Directive) allows anyone to indicate their wishes concerning the withdrawal or withholding of life-sustaining procedures if they are in a terminal condition with no hope of recovery or are permanently unconscious.

Importance of a Living Will

  • Give direction to your family members or partner - in case you get badly sick your family can make decisions based on your preferences in an difficult time.
  • Achieve legal and emotional security that a legal document can provide in protecting your interests should something unexpected occur.

Create your Living Will - with our simple online interview.

LegalOut makes it easy to write your Living Will for a peace of mind - this do-it-yourself document is easy, fully customizable and inexpensive to complete.

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The Living Will

August 6th, 2009

Guest contributor, Paige Arden Stanley from the Law Office of Paige Arden Stanley L.L.C. and member of LegalOut’s attorney network, discusses the importance of creating a Living Will.

During a recent healthcare forum, President Obama revealed that he and the First Lady each have Living Wills (also called advance healthcare directives) but hoped they would never need to use them. Obama’s speech turned a white-hot White-House spotlight on an important subject that everyone, regardless of age, should think about, discuss and request assistance with preparation. Don’t be like the countless individuals who would prefer ignoring having such an important document, thus leaving it up to others to guess at, or feud about, your wishes and what you might have wanted in terms of life sustaining measures.

What A Living Will Is
Plain and simple: a Living Will is one of the single most important documents that anyone, especially single individuals and unmarried partners (including those in domestic partnerships) can have.

A Living Will is a document that outlines what one’s healthcare preferences are in the event he/she cannot make those communications because of some kind of incapacity, albeit from a brief temporary condition to a long terminal illness. Without a Living Will in place, family members and/or health professionals are left to decide your fate. And, it might not be at all what you would have wanted.

What A Living Will Isn’t
Contrary to popular misconception, a Living Will is not about death or dying. In actuality, it is about someone carrying out your wishes and taking care of you while you are still living, but for whatever reason, you are unable to take care of or make decisions on your own.

Who Should Have a Copy of Your Living Will
Having a Living Will is not enough. Make sure that your doctor, the person you’ve designated as your power(s) of attorney regarding such decisions, and any other immediate family members have copies too.  It is also a good idea to take the Living Will with you when you travel. And, last but not least, if you are going to the hospital, even for what may be a minor procedure, take your Living Will. Read more about your options for legal document storage >>

Questions to Ask
Here are a few of the questions your attorney will ask when assisting in preparing your Living Will.

  • Do you have a current Living Will?
  • Do your parents?
  • Do your siblings?
  • Do your friends?
  • Do you have any idea how to bring up the topic?
  • Who do you want to make decisions for you?
  • Do you want artificial life-prolonging measures? Which: Nutrition and hydration? CPR? Under what conditions?
  • Where do you prefer to recuperate?
  • Do you wish to donate your organs?
Paige Arden Stanley, Law Office of Paige Arden Stanley, L.L.C For further assistance, please contact Paige Arden Stanley, Esq. at Law Office of Paige Arden Stanley, L.L.C.

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