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Why a living will simply cannot wait

To many people in Florida and across the country, a living will is considered Estate Planning 101. Most are familiar with the concept and have a rough idea of its function, but many assume it does not apply to their situation or stage in life.

A living will details how you want the assets of your estate disbursed once you have passed on. Even if you do not have a lot of assets or do not find a lot of urgency in this idea, composing a will is ideal to do at any age.

Living wills deal with important issues that could arise any time. A living will outlines how you want doctors to treat you in the event of a medical emergency where you are unable to communicate those wishes to others. Loved ones or those specified in the living will can ensure that these wishes are carried out and you receive the type of treatment you prefer. This removes the confusion and brings structure to times of chaos.

If a will is not involved in these situations, doctors will turn to family to determine what course of medical action they should take. If family members disagree on this decision, which is fairly common, the issue will be brought to court and a judge will determine a guardian to make decisions. This process eats up precious time and can cost the family a good deal of money.

This whole ordeal could be avoided by filing a living will, which is both affordable and simple to do. It is best to have a qualified attorney draft up this document where you will specify what sort of treatment you want to receive in certain medical situations along with naming a medical proxy -- a trusted loved one who will act on your behalf in those situations.

Continue to monitor your living will as the years progress to ensure the information remains accurate.

Source: LearnVest, "One financial to-do you can't afford to skip," Ellie Wilkinson, Nov. 7, 2011

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