Why Should I Have a Texas Living Will?
We do not know how our lives will end up. If you come down with a terminal illness, become incapacitated, or are diagnosed with a permanent condition and cannot speak for yourself, a living will would provide you with the ability to still manage your affairs, so to speak, regarding your medical treatments. You would still have the ability to instruct your doctors to withdraw, withhold, or administer medications and treatments that could prolong your life indefinitely as long as you have a living will. A living will ensures that your wishes are followed, no matter what condition you are in. It also eliminates the burden from your loved ones to make difficult decisions about your medical treatment, as well as prevents potential conflicts that could arise between your loved ones who may disagree about your health care.
What is a Living Will?
A living will is a legal document that provides your personally planned instructions to your doctors pertaining to your medical treatments. In your living will, you can outline whether to withhold or administer life-sustaining medical treatments if you are ever diagnosed with a terminal or permanent condition and you are unable to communicate your wishes. A living will in Texas has also been referred to as Texas Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates.
How is a Living Will Made Legal?
Similar to a medical power of attorney, a Texas living will needs to be either signed by two witnesses or notarized in order for it to become legally valid. The two witnesses must be adults who can be deemed competent at the time of signing. Also, at least one of the witnesses must not be able to fit any of the following descriptions:
- Someone you have designed as your agent to make health care decisions on your behalf;
- Someone related to you by either marriage or blood;
- Someone who would inherit something from your estate should you pass away;
- Someone who has any type of entitlement to your estate;
- Your attending doctor;
- Any employees of your attending doctor; or
- Any employee of the health care facility that you are staying in, f the employee provides direct care to you or is an officer, partner, or business office employee of the health care facility or of any parent organization of the health care facility.
Your signature should also be on your Texas living will to make it legal.
Should I Have Personal Instructions on My Texas Living Will?
This part is tricky. While the point of a Texas living will is to ensure that your wishes are followed, you do not want to limit your agent’s ability to make decisions that are in your best interest. That is why, along with having a living will, you should also appoint an agent. Your agent should have the freedom to make decisions in a flexible manner as your health care needs change. Often, situations that are not foreseeable occur. What should be most important is that your agent fully understands what your definition of quality of life is to ensure they can make the best decisions.
Can My Living Will Be Revoked?
You always have the choice to revoke your living will, no matter what your competency or medical state is at the time. You can do this either orally or in writing. You can also revoke your living will by physically ripping or shredding it. Regardless of how you go about revoking your living will, you should always contact your doctor and let them know that you have decided to revoke your living will so they can document it in your medical records.
Do I Need a Texas Living Will Attorney?
If you want to ensure that you family does not experience squabbles and confusion over your health care and your living will, you need the assistance of a Texas living will attorney. Contact the Law Office of Lauren Cain at (214) 326-4664 for a free consultation. Attorney Lauren Cain is always up front and honest about the fees you can expect to pay. She understands that estate planning and living wills are personal issues that are not the easiest things to think about and plan. Give her a call today to find out how she can help you finalize your Texas living will.