How do you want to die? Do you want lifesaving treatments to be administered even if all brain activity has ceased? Is your family aware of your wishes? And perhaps the more important question, is your doctor aware of your wishes?
Included in a complete estate plan is a living will (or Advance Health Care Directive) nominating a health care agent and stating your wishes for end of life decisions and treatment. This document is clear and comprehensive, yet many times health care professionals still have a difficult time withholding life-saving treatments, even if administering them goes expressly against a patient’s clear wishes to the contrary.
Sometimes, signing a living will is not enough. To be sure your wishes will be followed, you need to include your family and your doctor in your decision-making process, even to the extent that your agent and your doctor sign a statement to the effect that they have reviewed and agree to follow your wishes.
Don’t be one of the growing numbers of people whose wishes for end of life treatment are ignored. Bring your living will or health care directive to your next doctor’s appointment to review with your physician. And ask your Personal Family Lawyer® about any state specific forms to bolster your estate planning documents and ensure that your wishes are recognized.