Risks of not having a living will

54% of Americans told Gallup they didn’t have a will in 2021.

If you die without a will, a range of state laws dictate who gets your assets, and your loved ones may get nothing. They might get kicked out of the family house and could face hefty surprise tax bills.


The linked article is about a will (for when you die), not a living will.

## What is a living will?

A living will is a legal document that details the medical directions a person wants followed in the event she becomes seriously ill or incapacitated and cannot communicate such decisions herself. Living wills often deal with matters such as feeding and breathing tubes as well as the use of life support and life-sustaining medical treatments.

A living will becomes effective when the person who has written it becomes incapable of communicating medical decisions and is in a specific medical condition specified by state law. An individual can also be authorized to communicate with the doctors and other medical personnel regarding what they can and cannot do according to the living will. This is generally accomplished through a healthcare power of attorney, which is often included with a living will.

A living will can also be changed or revoked at any time the person is still capable of doing so.


And Living Wills are as important. During my career I’ve seen families fight over what is to be done and it never looks good. Many times it involves money because keep alive someone gets the SS/retirement check or allow to die and that money disappears. I’ve seen patients kept alive out of spite.

Most important decision, pick someone that will execute your wishes and not waiver despite other’s pressures. And it doesn’t have to be a family member.


In my personal experience, the worst person is a family member.

But even beyond that, in some locations a spouse’s wishes will over rule the patient’s wishes and short of a court battle even the Medical Attorney in Fact. Doctors and hospitals almost can do what ever they wish.

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Reminder, be sure to set up the DNR, and that folks know where to find it…

I’m waiting for things like a living will to be addable to things like my Apple Wallet or the Health App. Seems like that would be an easy place for necessary people to find it.


That’s a great idea!

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