A Living Will Is Not Enough


A Living Will is a document that clarifies your wishes for the very end of life. Specifically, the Living Will, also known as an Advanced Directive, tells your family, loved ones and medical professionals whether to continue life support even if all realistic options for any meaningful recovery have been exhausted.

An updated Living Will is crucial for everyone to have. Without it, you are inviting conflict, disharmony and a potentially great burden for your family. Also, without a clear Living Will, there is always a chance that a situation could develop into a case like Terry Schiavo, which lasted years because Ms. Schiavo had no Living Will.

But a Living Will is not enough – it takes care of your very end of life decisions. What about the rest of your health care decisions that must be made if you’re not competent to make them yourself?

Today, we always create a Health Care Power of Attorney (in addition to the Durable Financial Power of Attorney). The Health Care Power of Attorney appoints someone to make all medical decisions for you, hire and fire doctors and other medical personnel, etc. In Pennsylvania, most attorneys include the Living Will within the Health Care Power of Attorney document.

If you are admitted to a hospital, the staff will want to know immediately if you have these documents. You can’t carry them with you everywhere, so we highly recommend you store these documents online with our LegalVault service, and carry around an emergency ID card that allows hospitals to access these documents at any time.

By having an updated Health Care Power of Attorney with a Living Will that hospitals can immediately access with your emergency ID card, you are making it much easier for your family and loved ones to make the right decisions for you.

If we can be of assistance in updating or creating these crucial documents, or if you are interested in LegalVault/Emergency ID Card, please give our office a call at (215) 706-0200.