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Law Offices of David Ravi Sitlani: Helping couples, families, and individuals understand the ins and outs of estate planning in Washington State.

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The ABC’s of Estate Planning: The Medical Directive/Living Will

Posted by sitlanilaw on October 28, 2009


Recently, I have led workshops educating individuals regarding the basics of Estate Planning and why it is important for individuals to have an Estate Plan.  This series of entries is intended to offer you a summary of the materials presented at those workshops.  Today’s entry will discuss the basics of the Living Will/Medical Directive and what it does in the context of Estate Planning.  The previous entry addressed how the Power of Attorney is an integral part of your Estate Plan and in the coming days I will discuss various other aspects of an Estate Plan including Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning & the Death Tax.

The Living Will or Medical Directive.

When I discuss Medical Directives/Living Wills with clients or at my workshops I often start the conversation by discussing the case of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman whose family could not agree as to what should be done regarding her medical care, in particular what life sustaining measures should be undertaken by her medical team.

In this context I then explain the importance of the Living Will and Medical Directive as follows:  Once you complete your Living Will/Medical Directive you have made it clear as to what your decisions are regarding what (if any) medical procedures and/or life sustaining measures you want undertaken in the event that you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.

Thus, the Living Will/Medical Directive is a document that instructs your family, healthcare providers and others about your care should you be unable to make decisions on your own, and it is important to note that the Living Will/Medical Directive only becomes effective under circumstances that you outline in the document.

When I meet with clients I try to explain that the decisions they make in their Living Will/Medical Directive are not to be taken lightly and I recommend that they consider their moral, ethical and religious views when selecting the medical directives they wish to have followed and to discuss these decisions with their family.

Together with a Power of Attorney, the Living Will/Medical Directive is a crucial component to your estate plan.

If interested in this topic you can read more at:



The above information is not intended to provide the reader with any legal advice.  Please contact an attorney licensed to practice in your state with any legal questions. Using this blog does not create an attorney client relationship between you and The Law Offices of David Ravi Sitlani.



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