what is a living will?

What Is a Living Will?


Failing to plan is planning to fail. That may seem over the top, but if you don’t have a life plan in place, you are at the mercy of circumstance. If you are one of our clients, you already know that your estate plan is the best that can be designed. Your assets are protected and your legacy is intact. Your family and heirs will be taken care of according to your wishes. An unexpected death is always a shock to the family and community. But death is not the only tragedy that can rock a family. As second generation estate planners, Phelps LaClair is all too aware that an estate plan without a living will is incomplete.


An unexpected incapacitation, such as a coma or an inability to communicate, is a “suddenly” that can devastate your family. What happens if you don’t have a living will? You leave your medical (and perhaps end-of-life) decisions in the hands of people who may not know you or know what you desire. It is possible that your family may need to carry the burden of making those unbearable decisions and wondering if they are the “right” ones.

Quality of Life

A living will is your statement of what “quality of life” means to you. It answers the difficult questions, like: What does quality of life mean to you? If you are in a vegetative state, do you want to be kept alive artificially? Does artificial respiration count as living to you? Do you want to be fed or hydrated through invasive procedures? A Living Will frees your loved ones from having to make those choices.

Medical Power of Attorney

With a living will,you empower someone to carry out your decisions and desires. This is done through a medical power of attorney. This document gives the person you name the authority to consult and decide on your behalf. It includes release language that is HIPPA compliant, allowing your agent to consult with your doctors concerning your specific medical condition. Without this release, doctors are legally prohibited from discussing your case, even with your spouse.


A living will is part of every estate plan that Phelps LaClair writes for our clients. If you are not yet a client of ours, we invite you to come in for a free consultation. We have offices in Chandler, Mesa, Phoenix and Scottsdale where we explain our estate planning services and your options. After your consultation, we can propose a course of action based on your unique situation. We hope you will never need to implement a living will, but rather than failing to plan, let us help you plan to succeed!



Images used under creative commons license (Commerical Use) 01/30/20 Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

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