Living wills are often used by individuals that wish to have some control over what happens to them when they become incapacitated. While this can be a good idea, this type of estate planning tool usually has some problems. Here are a few flaws of living wills.

1. Lack of Use

Most people that draft a living will go through a lot of trouble in order to get the process accomplished. While many people do draft these documents with the help of a lawyer, they rarely get used. Even if someone goes to the trouble of setting up a living will, there is a good chance that no one is going to turn to it if that individual gets incapacitated. Many times, family members do not even know that a living will exists and therefore, they cannot turn to it if you become incapacitated. 

Even if family members know that a living will exists, it is unlikely to be consulted. With the way that medical treatment is these days, decisions have to be made in split seconds. Many times, no one wants to knowledge that the individual is dying. By the time the doctor or the family members realize that that person is dying, it is often too late to do anything for them. Many studies have shown that the difference between the care that individuals receive with a living will is not much different from the care that is given to those without a living will.

2. Vague

Another big problem with this type of will is that they are typically very vague. When it comes to medical scenarios, there is a lot of room for gray areas. Most people have fairly simplistic views of medical conditions and rely on what they see in movies. For example, if you are faced with the decision of staying in a coma for the rest of your life with no chance of recovery, you might want to prevent any treatments that will prolong your life. However, most of the time, the decisions that have to be made are not this simple. You might be conscious at times and be unconscious at other times. In reality, most individuals do not have the medical expertise that it would take to draft a comprehensive living will that would cover every possible situation. Because of this, most of the time, these documents are useless.

3. Challenge

Another problem with living wills is that they may not be able to stand up to a challenge. Many times, relatives that do not want to let go of the individual that is having problems will fight the living will in court. If they go to enough trouble, there is a good chance that they will be able to beat the living will in court. Therefore, it is essentially going to be up to your family members anyway, so the effectiveness of this document is debatable.

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