Wills are testamentary documents that do not become relevant until the individuals who created them pass away. In a will a person may describe how they want their heirs to benefit from the decedent's end-of-life wealth and how their property should be disposed of. However, there is another type of will that Colorado residents can benefit from having in place, and this form of will is relevant during the creators' lives.
Living wills are legally binding documents that outline who may make important health care decisions for individuals if those individuals are unable to do so on their own. For example, an aging individual may name their child or other trusted loved one with the task of managing their health care needs if the individual becomes infirm or otherwise loses their capacity to make informed decisions about their own health care needs.
The laws of Colorado have in place several requirements that individuals must meet in order to have valid living wills. First, only adults may make living wills. Children are not allowed to execute these legal documents as their parents retain the right to make decisions about their medical care. Second, a person must be competent to understand and execute a living will in order for it to become valid. People who do not know what their living wills are for or how their rights may be affected may not execute them. Finally, competent adults who wish to execute living wills must do so in the presence of two witnesses.
As a Colorado resident ages they may have more concerns about how their health will be managed. With the help of an elder law attorney, they may find peace of mind through the execution of a living will to protect their end of life health care needs.