Do you need a living will declaration in your estate plan?
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No one likes to imagine something unpleasant happening to themselves or to family members. However, considering possible issues that might arise is important for people who have responsibilities to others in a legal, social or financial sense.

Estate planning involves leaving instructions for the distribution of your property and the care of your minor children or other dependents if you die. It can also involve creating documents that take effect during a medical emergency, such as when you are in a coma after a stroke or a car crash.

One of the most important documents you might include would be a living will declaration.

What is an Ohio living will declaration?

In Ohio, a living will declaration is a specific document that a testator executes. This document guides the care a person receives during a period of incapacitation or terminal illness. It includes crucial information for the medical professionals providing care.

The document makes it clear whether you have a health care power of attorney. If you do not, you can name up to three people to contact when making choices about life-sustaining treatment. You are also able to provide detailed instructions regarding your medical preferences.

Your feelings about organ donation or anatomical gifts, life support and even end-of-life care are all part of a living will declaration. You can give details about your wishes so that there isn’t any confusion about how much care or support you’d like to receive.

If some kind of situation arises in which you cannot speak for yourself, your family members or the medical professionals in charge of your care can refer to your living will declaration to determine what treatment you should receive.

Other documents help support a living will declaration

Simply providing instructions about your medical preferences isn’t quite enough. You may want to include a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) waiver permitting specific family members to access your medical records. Medical and financial powers of attorney are also popular inclusions in estate plans that have living will declarations.

Thinking about your medical needs in an emergency or after you have aged can help you protect yourself with the right estate planning documents and make a difficult emergency situation a little easier for the people you love.