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Learn... Plan... Protect Your Estate

Steps to Build Plan
  Step 1 - Organize documents
  Step 2 - Get educated
  Step 3 - Inventory
  Step 4 - Determine goals
  Step 5 - Develop plan
  Step 6 - Review plan
  Step 7 - Take action
  Step 8 - Get help
Estate Plan Items
  Death Will
  Power of Attorney
  Health Care Directive
  Living Will
  Charitable Giving
  Asset Distribution
  Burial Instructions
Create your living will

A living will generally allows you to state your wishes regarding the treatment you will receive if you have a terminal illness and are expected to die relatively soon, or are permanently unconscious. Health care providers will look to your living will for direction only if you are no longer able to make and communicate your own decisions.

In general, a living will is used to indicate if you want certain medical treatment withheld or withdrawn in order to allow a more natural death if the treatment is merely prolonging the dying process and there is no hope of recovery. A typical living will is generally more limited than an advance health care directive or health care power of attorney in that it only provides directions to be followed if you are terminally ill or can't speak for yourself. Additionally, a typical living will does not provide the opportunity to designate an agent to make health care decisions for you in the future.

In some states, the living will and health care proxy have been replaced with a single document, a medical directive. You can get copies from estate-planning attorneys, stores that sell legal forms, or through various sources on the Internet. Hospitals and nursing home also have them available, but it's best to handle these matters before you actually need them.

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