FEDweek

Expressing Your Last Wishes Now

In a truly worst-case scenario, you or your spouse may someday wind up in a coma, on a feeding tube, while relatives debate what to do. Not only would that create hard feelings, it can have hard costs: while the debate rages, medical and legal bills will mount.

To avoid such disputes, your estate plan should include a living will. This document is different from the will that explains how you’d like your assets to be distributed. Instead, a living will reveals what you’d like to happen, if life-sustaining efforts are necessary.

Any verbal statements you might have made won’t be as effective as a document that has been signed and witnessed. Therefore, you should have your attorney draw up a living will along with your other will, power of attorney, and any trusts that are in your estate plan. As an alternative, forms for living wills are available at no charge at many Web sites, which you can find by doing a search.