Everything you need to know about living wills
Have you ever thought about what happens if you can no longer manage your own affairs? What happens if illness or accident leaves you unable to manage important matters?
When you become willfully incapacitated and unable to manage your affairs, a lot comes your way. Many things could have been arranged in advance. What are your medical wishes? How do you want things arranged financially? Who makes decisions for you? You determine that in a living will. You let it be known what your wishes are and assign someone who can and may act on your behalf. This way you keep control.
What is a living will?
At the notary, you can draw up a living will. In it, you designate one or more people you trust. You decide what you want to arrange and who can arrange it. You can give someone power of attorney to manage your assets or make your medical wishes known. You remain competent, but you appoint someone who can make decisions on your behalf if you are no longer able to do so yourself.
Notice: A living will deals only with matters during life. In a regular will, you determine what happens when you die. So it is not the same thing.
Why a living will?
If you don't think about this in time, it may be too late. If you no longer have the capacity to will, you can no longer make a living will. It is important for everyone, young and old, to think about this in time. Even at a young age, something can happen to someone. If you have an accident and fall into a coma as a result, you can no longer decide either(s).
If you are incapacitated, you may have to deal with the legal protective measures: guardianship, mentorship or guardianship. A cantonal judge will then appoint someone to look after your financial or medical interests. Note that people who are married to each other are also not automatically allowed to sign for each other. Many people think so, but this is a big misunderstanding. They also need a living will.
Below is a brief explanation from the Association for Estate Planners in the Notary Profession:
Financial, medical and personal preferences
In a living will, you arrange financial, medical and personal matters. Financial matters relate to practical matters such as tax returns or selling a house. With medical matters, you can think about the consultation with a doctor, but also who can give permission for an operation. This is regulated in the medical power of attorney. A treatment prohibition or euthanasia declaration can also be included; this must be done in close consultation with the doctor. A notary is not a doctor. By recording your wishes, you do not confront your loved ones with uncertainties.
A living will is registered in the Central Register of Living Wills. This way it is always clear if and when a person has made a living will.
You can read more about all of these living will options in the brochures below.
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