Living Wills in San Antonio

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No one can predict the future, and thinking too far ahead can be overwhelming. However, it is important to ensure your family and loved ones know what to do if something unexpected happens to you.

A living will—or a “directive to physicians and surrogates”—can serve as your legal instructions if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. An experienced wills attorney like Sasha Begum from Begum Peláez-Prada PLLC could answer any questions about living wills in San Antonio, including how to create one and the different ways estate planning could give you peace of mind.

Benefits of Living Wills

Living wills are for everyone. They exist to eliminate uncertainty in unforeseeable situations. A sudden accident or illness can make you unable to communicate your wishes regarding medical care, which can leave doctors and family in a difficult situation. A living will clearly lays out whether you want medical care after becoming incapacitated or terminally ill. It addresses situations in a definitive and legally binding way, such as whether care should continue if you cannot respond and whether life-saving care should continue if your status worsens.

However, a living will is not a power of attorney form nor a do-not-resuscitate order (DNR). These documents apply to different situations: a medical power of attorney assigns decision-making to another person as your agent, and a DNR instructs first responders—such as EMTs—not to bring you back to life if found deceased in your home.

A living will only details your wishes to your attending physician if you become incapacitated, but it will legally bind your doctor to those wishes as long as it is properly created. Working with a seasoned lawyer in San Antonio, such as Sasha Begum, could provide the peace of mind that your wishes are legally effective on your living will.

How To Create a Living Will in Texas

Texas state law governs the creation of advance directives. Under Texas Health and Safety Code § 166, you, as a competent adult, can create a living will if it is in the proper form required by the law. In the absence of a living will or other advance directive, Texas law automatically creates a hierarchy of persons who will be designated to make decisions on your behalf. In order of priority, this includes:

  • Your spouse
  • An adult child—a representative from among your children or by a majority of your children
  • Parents
  • A person clearly identified before you become incapacitated
  • Your nearest living relative or a clergy member
  • A probate court judge—as a last resort

However, with a living will, you will not require anyone to take on the responsibility of making decisions for you.

Creating a living will can be done in writing or verbally. If in writing, Texas Code § 166 requires a document signed by you and two witnesses (or in the presence of a notary). The state provides a sample form that you can use to clearly identify what care you want to receive if incapacitated and designate a power of attorney. If creating a living will verbally, you must do so in the presence of your doctor and two witnesses—after which your doctor will enter your wishes into your medical records. San Antonio attorney Sasha Begum could advise you on whether a living will is the advance directive you should use, as well as how to create one correctly.

Learn More About Living Wills from a San Antonio Attorney

Thinking ahead with a living will can save you and your family a lot of anxiety should you become incapacitated. It can provide some peace of mind long before anything happens. Our experienced attorneys can go into more detail about living wills in San Antonio and tailor a document to your needs and wishes. At Begum Peláez-Prada PLLC, our lawyers have the experience and knowledge to support you. Call today to go over your living will with Sasha Begum.