More Americans Creating Living Wills Study Finds

Posted by Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC on June 25, 2020

According to a Gallup poll, 45% of Americans have living wills in place–a 5% increase since 2005. Those preparing for the future include those of a higher socioeconomic status, and college degree earning adults. Gallup revisited the question as a result of increased estate planning due to COVID-19.

Why are more people creating living wills?

Living wills, which are legal documents that dictate an individual’s end of life wishes should they be unable to make choices themselves, have grown in popularity with more states adopting right to die statutes, global health concerns, and more.

As a result, more Americans are preparing for the future in the event they cannot cognitively make their own medical decisions.

Those most likely to create a living will include:

  • College graduates 
  • Upper and middle-income Americans
  • Americans over 50 years old

The disparity between those who do and do not procure living wills continues to be based on economic status. While it is not required to hire an attorney to draft your living will, many Americans do, just to ensure their wishes will be met.

In addition, the poll revealed that 25% of U.S. adults have had to make a decision about whether to remove life support for a family member. Of those who have done so, only 58% of them said that the family member had a living will.

The idea then is that more Americans are creating living wills to protect family members from having to make these end of life decisions without truly knowing what the individual’s wishes are.

What is included in a living will?

If you are considering creating your own living will, there are a few elements you’ll want to include to better protect your wishes and prepare your family should the worst happen.

You should include the following in your living will:

  • End of life care. This may include CPR, DNR, ventilation, tube feeding, dialysis, medical intervention, etc.
  • Palliative Care. Comfort care to minimize suffering which falls in line with your other medical wishes.
  • Organ donation.
  • Body donation.

As with any estate planning document, you’ll want to update your living will when any major life event occurs. This may include the birth of a child, (re)marriage, divorce, death of a spouse, etc. In addition, if you receive any new medical diagnoses, you may wish to revisit your end of life wishes.

Preparing for the unknown is confusing and can be incredibly emotional. That’s why you need the estate planning pros of Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC. It’s what we do.

Nashville Living Will Attorneys: Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC

The Nashville living will lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC can advise you on how to create your own living will to ensure your end of life wishes are met while your family can feel comfortable making these choices for you. 

Planning for the future may seem impossible. But it doesn’t have to be. Contact our Nashville living will lawyers now for more information.

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