Single moms probably know why they need a conventional will. It ensures that their children will go to the guardians you choose instead of a relative you consider unfit or being stuck in foster care. However, you need a living will, as well. Let’s learn what a living will is and why single moms need a living will. We’ll also address some of the issues you want to address in the living will.
An Introduction to a Living Will
A living will or physician health directive is a document that dictates your wishes regarding medical care when you aren’t able to make them. This could be because you are in a coma after a car wreck or incapacitated after a severe illness. The living will spell out your wishes regarding life support, life-saving medical treatment, and palliative care.
A living will can be seen as a complement to a traditional will. For example, you might say in your will that you want your organs to be donated if you die, but no one will see that when the organs could be harvested. Conversely, a living will can spell this out to your friends and family.
Why Single Moms Need a Living Will
A living will should say who you want making your medical decisions when you’re not able to do so. You should dictate someone you trust as the decision-maker. You may want this to be someone separate from the caregiver for your children. The living will also specify someone other than your adult child so that they aren’t burdened with these decisions. You can name this person in the durable power of attorney for healthcare documents as well as the living will. You can use the living will to specify how you would like your funeral to be handled, while the will should state who gets what after you die. Learn how to get a will because every adult needs one, but single parents have to go to extra steps to have their wishes carried out since there isn’t a spouse who will handle these things by default.
A side benefit of naming a decision-maker is that you can give them as much or as little authority as you’d like. You could set up a financial and medical power of attorney document so that the same person deciding your treatment has the authority to pay the medical bills. Then you don’t have to deal with bill collectors after you’ve recovered. Make clear the treatments you’d accept or reject so that your estate isn’t drained on last-ditch medical care, leaving little to nothing to support your children. Yet the living will do save you and your estate money since the family doesn’t have to go to court to appoint a guardian when you’re incapacitated.
Note that the healthcare power of attorney and/or living will can be limited. For example, you might say that your mother could fill this role for the next five years, but in ten years, it will be your best friend. Then you don’t have to burden a retiree with these decisions. Furthermore, the power of attorney or living will document expire when you die.