People don’t create a living will in order to “do” something. Rather, a living will is designed to give helpful information and set rules and guidelines to be followed by medical practitioners and family members when someone receives care but no longer has the mental capacity to direct it. As such, unlike a will — which distributes an estate planner’s assets after he or she has passed away — the living will is there to provide information and guidelines about medical care.

Your living will is can be set up in a general or specific way depending on your needs. You can include details that state exactly which medical procedures you want performed in which situations, or you can leave things more general and simply provide basic guidelines and limitations. Also, you can use your living will to name the person whom you want to make medical decisions on your behalf.

When setting up a general living will, you’ll also want to have a power of attorney on file. This power of attorney will give the person you appoint the right to manage your finances and health care in the way that’s best for you and your situation.

No one ever said that planning an estate was easy, but you can make your estate planning tasks much easier on you and your family by working with an experienced estate planning attorney. An attorney at our Massachusetts estate planning firm can do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to drafting your estate-related legal documents like living wills or powers of attorney.