For many years, we have maintained that Living Wills are insufficient. When determined to be terminally ill, a Living Will places your life solely in the hands of a physician. The key question in this regard is - is the physician a strong "right-to-life" advocate, or, is he or she a strong "right-to-die" advocate?
A Living Will deals only with end-of-life issues. But, what if you are incapacitated and unable to make your own medical decisions? Who can legally make medical decisions for you in such an event?
The truth is, Living Wills don't work often enough or reliably enough to justify the money spent trying to make them routine and universal. Professional studies have found that Living Wills regularly contain mutually inconsistent instructions. Nor do the standard forms sufficiently help. One version imploys vague terms such as "artificial means" and "heroic measures." Another asks the writer to specify numerous treatments for numerous conditions, a labor of analysis very few of us are equipped to undertake. So, what is to be done? First, people can gain some control over their fate by choosing their own surrogate via a highly comprehensive durable power of attorney for health care, a legal document that names who will make decisions for them when they are no longer able.
We include a Living Will, at no charge, with every revocable living trust structure we prepare for our clients.