On this Asset Protection Today podcast we talk about the issues and planning necessary so you can protect your assets — but we turn to a topic that is difficult for many to address: a living will. However, in the grand scheme of things, it is equally important — not so much for asset protection but for family harmony and psychological well being.
Living Will Background
The first living will was first created in 1967 by human rights attorney Luis Kutner after experiencing the long and painful illness of a close friend. He advocated for a document allowing people to express their final wishes about using medical life support treatments when nearing death. This concept gained national attention with the case of Karen Ann Quinlan a young woman in a vegetative state.
Her father fought in court to have the right to make legally binding decisions about her treatment and it paved the way for a legal precedent that allows us the right to have our treatment decisions honored, even in the event we are not mentally present to be able to actively voice our wishes.
Importance of the Health Care Agent
Living Wills and DNRs are documents that tell doctors what your wishes are in the event that you can’t communicate with them about treatment options. However, everyone should give some thought about granting a health care agent the opportunity to take charge in the event that your agent has concerns. They should also question what decisions and choices the attending doctor wants to make. In many circumstances there is a very strong argument to be made that family members are better interpreters of your wishes than a transactional health care provider at a hospital.
After the fact is too late, so make your plans today to talk to an experienced elder law attorney.