Your Voice, Your Choices: Thinking about Living Wills and Advance Directives

 I'll be the first to admit it: sometimes we breeze over the discussion of Advanced Directives and Living Wills discussion during estate plan consultations. And I'm pretty sure that a lot of clients don't really grasp the depths of these critical documents. Here's a pretty good guide and discussion of the issues and documents that relate to this topic. 

A recent saga from a case in Oklahoma helps illustrate how complex this "simple" question can really be even when the client actually has a Living Will in place. The individual had a valid Living Will in place, but as her situation deteriorated, her family found themselves grappling with emotional turmoil, legal uncertainties and conflicting opinions. This post provides a good outline of the case, history and the issues that the courts and family had to deal with. 

Moral of the story? Here a few key points to keep in mind when dealing with a Living Will question:

  • Execute a document. (Don't pull a Terri Schiavo.)
  • Get a Medical Power of Attorney executed in addition.
  • DISCUSS with your family your wishes as to different scenarios.

Living Wills are not mere checkboxes; they hold immense significance. As your estate planning attorney, it’s our duty to emphasize their importance and guide clients through the complexities. As the client, it is your duty to decide and discuss with your family. 


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