Having a living will in place is important for your loved ones and for your own peace of mind. It helps you prepare for unexpected medical situations. Call Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd. today to speak with a Denver Living Will Lawyer for sound legal guidance in all your matters. We are the best when it comes all estate planning litigation in the Denver area.
A “living will” is a legal document that allows you to tell your medical providers (and your family members) what treatment you would want to receive in the event you are in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery. A living will shares your desires concerning your own medical treatment in circumstances under which you are no longer able to communicate. It explains whether or not you want to be kept on life support if you become terminally ill and would die shortly without it.
At the law firm of Colorado Estate Matters, Ltd., our living will lawyers in Denver draft living wills for families in the south Denver metro area and throughout Colorado. We begin by asking your philosophy about end-of-life care. Your living will shares your beliefs, desires and wishes.
If you are in a terminal state and are unable to communicate for yourself, would you want doctors to prolong your life by artificial means? Otherwise you can have feeding tubes, artificial hydration, and breathing machines. Or do you only want treatment to relieve pain and suffering?
Without a living will, your family members might have to make a decision. This would leave them in the emotionally difficult position of trying to determine what you would have wanted. This can lead to disputes between family members that can end up in court. One legal case that coincidentally comes up often when people discuss living wills, is that of Terri Schiavo in Florida. If Ms. Schiavo had completed a living will expressing HER WISHES as to end-of-life care. Though the family could have spared a lengthy and contentious court battle.
In some states, a living will is called an advance medical directive. In Colorado a living will is called a Declaration as to Medical or Surgical Treatment. Your living will allows you to designate a person who has the authority to carry out your wishes.
As a rule, a living will can only effectively work when you are unable to communicate your wishes on your own. This can particularly occur in medical situations such as:
If you do not have a living will in place and you are unable to communicate your desires, how could you? In some situations, doctors and hospitals may believe they are legally obligated to perform procedures. These could be procedures that you may or may not have wanted. Having your expressed wishes in writing, a living will helps make decisions. However, it can also make it easier for your spouse, adult children, or other relatives to make decisions about your care in such a situation.
It is not unusual for a living will to be confused with a will. A will is the shortened name for a Last Will and Testament. A will expresses your wishes regarding what happens with your property and any minor children when you die. However, a living will expresses your wishes about what happens specifically with medical treatments while you are still living.
You can state in a living will that, should you become incapable of expressing your wishes, you do not want any medical procedure or intervention that would only serve to prolong dying. Under state law, the treatment you are refusing shall not include a medical procedure for nourishment, or a procedure considered by your attending physician to provide comfort or alleviate pain. Artificial nourishment may be withdrawn if you say that it should not be provided for a single procedure. Or that it should only be continued for a specified period.
To make a valid living will in the state of Colorado, you must be a competent adult. For example, a living will must be signed in front of two competent and coherent witnesses. Any person meeting those requirements is free to declare that life-sustaining procedures should be held or withdrawn. But they have to be incapable of communicating these wishes to medical staff.
From our offices in Denver, we serve clients throughout the southwest and southeast Metro Area, including (but not limited to) people in Highlands Ranch, Littleton, Castle Rock, Parker, Aurora, Greenwood Village, Englewood, Centennial, Wheat Ridge, Golden and Arvada.
You addressed the special needs of my end of life concerns with understanding and knowledge of community resources which have been included in my living will. The entire process was efficiently concluded which reflects well on your legal services and gives me confidence that my wishes will be carried out.
John Phillips has now gone to JR Phillips & Assoc. PC. Justin Blow, Denise Husa, and Lexus Bohan are now with Colorado Estate Matters and can be reached below.