As the coronavirus pandemic continues throughout Oklahoma, many people are faced with the question of whether their estate plan is sufficient. While many people think that a will is sufficient, it is often important to create other critical estate planning documents. During these times, it is helpful to consider whether a “living will” or “medical directive” is a suitable estate planning tool to create in case you ever pass away or become incapacitated. 

 

The Difference Between Living Wills and Medical Directives

 

Living wills serve the purpose of reflecting what or whether or a person would like to receive life-sustaining procedures. Living wills are classified as only one type of advance directive, which directly focuses on measures required to sustain a person’s life. Some of the other types of advance directives include a wide range of alternative planning options.

 

Living wills fall into the category of medical directive, which refers to documents establishing a person’s wishes for certain medical procedures as well as end-of-life care. While the term “advance directives” is often used in relation to these documents, this often refers to power of attorney documents that assign another individual’s ability to make financial or medical decisions. 

 

Changes Brought on by the Coronavirus

 

Medical directives can include a person’s wishes to receive either general or specific medical care like tube feeding or pain management in case they end up incapacitated or are at the end of their lives. Due to the coronavirus, many individuals are reconsidering whether they are satisfied with the medical directives they have established and whether they are still appropriate during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

The Role of Living Wills

 

Many people view living wills as only orders about whether or not that person would like to be kept alive in case life-saving procedures are necessary. In reality, these documents can also be used to control pain, emphasize comfort, and make sure a person ends their life with dignity. As a result, these documents play an important role in not just the lives of older individuals, but also in the lives of younger individuals, as well. 

 

Alternatives to Creating Medical Directives

 

Rather than complete a medical directive expressing how a person feels about certain procedures, another option is to engage in conversations with the individual that you plan on naming through a medical directive so they are aware of your wishes. By engaging in conversations with this individual, you can make sure that they can look out for all of the details surrounding the end of your life. 

 

It is critical to make sure to have these conversations, even though they are often difficult and stressful given that you are appointing someone to make critical decisions for you. If you are not comfortable having these conversations, it is often a sign that you should reconsider who you should reappoint through medical directives.

 

Critical Lessons to Remember

 

Whether it is the pandemic or the eventual human health, it is a good idea to not just make sure your estate planning documents are up to date. You should also make sure that your estate planning documents current wishes. While medical directives might be the best choice for your estate plan, other people discover that an honest conversation can achieve their goals.

 

Contact With a Knowledgeable Estate Planning Attorney

 

The estate planning process is often complex. If you need the assistance of an experienced estate planning lawyer, do not hesitate to contact attorney Jim A Lyon today to schedule a free case evaluation.