Many people want a "living will" (formally known as an Advance Directive or Directive to Physicians and Family Members) to make sure that their wishes for health care are followed in case they become unable to communicate their wishes.  In most cases, people with living wills are trying to avoid unnecessary, painful, and expensive procedures that do nothing to enhance quality of life and only delay an inevitable death.
 
In a living will, you can say whether you want "life-prolonging procedures," such as CPR, CT scans, dialysis, or other invasive processes after a doctor has certified that your condition is terminal, or that you are near death.  Separately, you can say whether you want food and water administered to you even if you don't want any medical procedures performed.
 
In addition to stating your wishes in these matters, you should also name someone who will be authorized to make decisions not anticipated in your living will if you are unable to do so.  Your health-care agent should be prepared to make the decision, for example, to withdraw food and water, if it comes to that. You should also identify your primary care physician. 

Other Decisions That Should Be Included in a Living Will 

In addition to the health-care decisions described above, you should also include answers to the following:
  • Do you want to donate your body, organs, or tissue?
  • Have you made burial or cremation arrangements?  If so, what are they?  If not, do you want your agent to make these decisions?
  • Do you want an autopsy or not, or do you want your agent to make this decision for you?

Let me help draft your living will!  940-765-4992

 
 
Many people think that (a) they don't have enough money or property to need a Will; or (b) their property will automatically go to their spouse or children without the need for a Will.  Not necessarily! No estate is too small.  And the process is complex.

The Texas Probate Code is very specific on how estates are distributed if there is no Will.   Below is just a start:
  • If there is no surviving spouse, then to the children and their descendants.
  • If there is no surviving spouse or children or grandchildren, then to the parents.
  • If there are no parents, spouse, or descendants, then to cousins.
  • If one parent survives, then one-half of the decedent's estate goes to that parent and the other half to the brothers and sisters.
  • If the spouse and one parent survive, then the spouse inherits all the personal property, but only one-half of the real property of the decedent; the parent gets the other half of the real property.
  • If there is a surviving spouse and children, the surviving spouse gets one-third of the decedent's personal property and his/her children get the other two-thirds; the spouse gets a lifetime interest in one-third of the decedent's real property, and on the death of that spouse, the decedent's children inherit the real property of the decedent.
Confused?  Call me!  940-765-4992

 

    Author

    Sharon K. Lowry, Attorney at Law with experience in probating Wills and in navigating the process of administrering estates where there is no Will.

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