Living Wills

A health care power of attorney permits someone else to make medical decisions when the principal is temporarily or permanently unable to make those decisions. A Living Will tells others that you want to die a natural death if you are terminally and incurably sick or in a persistent vegetative state from which you will not recover. A Living Will is often called a "Declaration of a Desire for a Natural Death."

The advantages of a living will have been widely publicized by the Nancy Cruzan case, whereby the Florida woman did not have a Living Will and was kept alive for seven years despite repeated requests from her family that she be allowed to die. Finally, after several years of court battles, she was allowed to die in 1990 after a court determined there was "clear and convincing" evidence that she would not want to be kept alive in her vegetative state. To prevent these types of family squabbles and ease the terrible burden from being placed on loved ones during a medical crises, it is important that you decide these matters when you are of sound mind and furnish them to your family and physician.


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