If you are a young couple busy with young children with good lives and jobs, you are certainly not ready to think of your lives ending. But you do need to think about it.
Case in point – Terry Schiavo. She was just 26 years old when cardiac arrest put her in a persistent vegative state. The court battle over whether she’d want to live or die drove home the message that end of life issues know no age boundaries.
You need to talk about the issues. The problem is that if something should happen, emotions could take over and lead to something you may not have wanted if it isn’t in writing.
Why A Living Will Is Important
That’s exactly why a Living Will is something every adult should have. The definitive cases on the issue – Karen Ann Quinlan, Nancy Cruzan and Terry Schiavo all involved women in their twenties.
If you are not able to talk to yourself, the Living Will speaks for you.
Legally, it’s called a natural death declaration. It allows you to define what you consider a terminal condition and what you consider to be life sustaining measures, for example, CPR, antbiotics, and food and water.
Don’t Hide The Living Will
Once you create your Living Will, don’t put in a drawer. Talk to family members, give copies to all your doctors , friends and lawyer and take it with you on hospital visits. The more people who have a copy, the more effective it will be and the more likely it will be honoured.
You need to have this declaration; you hope you never need it, but it’s good to know it’s there. If something should happen, it won’t be a struggle between families.
A Living Will should also include a durable power of attorney for health care. It designates a specific person to make medical decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself.