Death is unpleasant. Why would anyone want to think about such an unpleasant subject. However, as unpleasant as death may be, everything that lives will eventually die. End of life issues are difficult to face. However, the failure to face end of life issues can create untenable, difficult, and painful situations for your loved ones.
A Living Will is a document that spells out an individual’s wishes with regards to the type of medical care he or she wants to have. It is only utilized when the individual who drafts the document is no longer capable of communicating with doctors directly. It deals with issues such as life support and medical treatments that do not prolong life but only prolong death and suffering.
A Health Care Proxy is sometimes called a health care power of attorney. This allows an individual to select someone he or she trusts to make decisions about medical care during a period of time when they are in incapacitated or unable to communicate their wishes.
Cathy Brant is the senior vice president in the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization states that living wills and health care proxies are a good idea for everyone whether they are healthy and young or older and not so healthy. She states further that these two documents can spare families painful fights and ensure patients receive – or don’t receive – the medical treatments they wish should they end up in a situation where they can’t speak for themselves.
Avoiding The Terri Schiavo Situation
Terri Schiavo collapsed in 1990, in her home. She did not have any advance directives regarding end of life care issues. Her heart stopped. She suffered irreversible brain injuries. She was left in a vegetative state. Her husband, who loved her very much, stated she had told him she would not want to live in a vegetative state. He parents vehemently disagreed with Terri’s husband. They wanted her kept alive without regard to the quality of her life. Her husband and parents litigated for years concerning the issue of turning off her life support system. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees were expended concerning this issue. In 2005, the court ordered her feeding tubes removed and she died two weeks later.
There are many issues individuals face as they grow older. Drafting health care proxies, will and living wills are issues that Americans should face up to.
The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo has more than thirty years of experience in handling all types of Estate related matters. We probate Wills. We litigate Will contests. We draft Wills and Trusts. We create guardianships for clients. We have developed expertise concerning Estate Tax issues, Revocable Living Trusts, Irrevocable Trusts, Elder Care issues, nursing home abuse matters, Medicaid, Medicare planning techniques, Special Needs Trusts and Supplement Needs Trusts for our clients. Call us for a free consultation. Our phones are monitored 24/7. We can be reached at 1-800-344-6431, 516-561-6645 or 718-350-2802.