Advance directives for health care are recommended for everyone, and one of them is the living will. With this directive you record your preferences regarding the use of life-sustaining medical procedures.
Perhaps the best way to understand why a living will is important is to recount the story of Terri Schiavo that was widely publicized a number of years ago.
Terri was a young woman who had not yet reached her 30th birthday when she went into full cardiac arrest. She subsequently fell into a vegetative state. She remained in that state for years, being kept alive via the utilization of feeding tubes.
After around eight years her husband filed a petition to allow for the removal of the feeding tubes. Schiavo’s parents were against it, and a court battle ensued.
This could have been avoided if Terri had executed a living will that flatly stated how she would want doctors to proceed if this type of circumstance was to present itself.
This case explains what a living will is used for, but it also underscores the importance of a living will for people of all ages.
A survey was recently conducted, and 61% of the people who responded said that they did not have a living will. Statistics tell us that most adults don’t have a last will in place either.
You can be sure that you are prepared for all contingencies if you simply sit down and create an estate plan with the assistance of a licensed estate planning attorney. The time and effort involved is well worth it when you consider the consequences that can come about if you don’t have a plan in place.
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