living wills

By JACKIEROTHGEB08 Latest Reply 2011-05-09 14:40:45 -0500
Started 2011-05-05 23:16:53 -0500


43 replies

MrsCDogg 2011-05-09 10:06:13 -0500 Report

Having a living will is a good idea. However, that does not mean that your wishes will be carried out. Talk to your family and let them know what you want if something bad happens to you.

nzingha 2011-05-09 09:41:35 -0500 Report

i've had a regular will since i was 21…but a living will…gosh i've never thought of that one..hummm..need to think about that..thnks for that heads up!

Bubbelove 2011-05-07 11:56:11 -0500 Report

I have had a living will for a long time, as well as my husband. All my children know exactly what my wishes are, as well as my husband. Since this is a second marriage I have put my son in charge. My older daughter also follows and my other two daughters. My husband is there, too, but he has already had to "pull the plug," and told me he really didn't want to have to do that again :-) I made out the Living Will over the internet with My brother and I also did my mother's Will (her wishes), and thank God she was home because she wanted us to do it ourselves! I am very satisfied with that. In fact, I am going to re-do my own Will with them. The only thing that I will point out - if you have complicated assets (we don't) perhaps you should speak to an attorney. All our children are grown with children of their own. We don't have stocks and bonds, or anything else complicated. But do your Living Will soon. It is not a lot of money to do this over the Internet.

nanaellen 2011-05-07 09:22:47 -0500 Report

Funny you ahould ask this. I just sent for a legal will document in the mail. I haven't filled it out yet but seems like the one thing I can get past so my family doesn't have to! I've seen WAY too many families fight over things when there isn't a will present!! No sense in them fighting if I can prevent it!! Diabetes is not the only reason though, I had a mild heart attack last year and it was pretty scary to say the least! I guess the main reason is because I am raising my 13 year old grandson and I need to know where he will go should anything happen. I don't want him to go back to his Mother!! THAT'S why the Will. Don't have much of anything to "leave" anyone.

dietcherry 2011-05-06 16:39:35 -0500 Report

OK so does anyone have any suggestions about who should be given the durable power of attorney? I know a family member sounds like a no-brainer but what if there simply isnt one or Gulp! you dont trust any of them to carry your wishes out? Is a clergy member or your Dr. out of the question?

pixsidust 2011-05-07 22:22:01 -0500 Report

They have to be willing to take on that responsibility. I know that Hospitals and perhaps Dr office will keep you wishes on resuscitation

Bubbelove 2011-05-07 11:57:37 -0500 Report

I would ask a best friend if I did not want anyone in the family. Someone who is close to you and knows your desires. Nothing wrong with that.

dietcherry 2011-05-07 16:55:54 -0500 Report

Thanks! Im just not planning on going anywhere soon so dont know if todays pick would be tomorrows reality!

diabetesfree 2011-05-07 09:05:24 -0500 Report

Who you choose to act as your durable power of attorney for healthcare is a pretty huge decision, and I don't think that there is any generic answer that would suffice. Everyone's situation and relationships are different. For instance, I wouldn't have any problem with my priest having durable power of attorney, since I know him well and my personal views are very much in-line with that of my religion. If you have personal views that may differ with that of your religion, a pastor would probably not be ideal though. There is hopefully someone in your life that knows you well and is trustworthy enough for the position.

BTW, I believe that Medic-Alert has an option for keeping medical documents (like a living will) on file with them, in the event you are unconscious or incapacitated. In that event, the hospital, paramedics, etc. can contact Medic-Alert with the number on your Medic-Alert bracelet and have the document faxed or read to them. Since you obviously already have diabetes (duh!), it's probably a good idea to have a Medic-Alert bracelet or something similar in case you are found unconscious anyway. I've had one for a few years now, although I opted for the dog tag version. The bracelet makes me look too much like a senior citizen! :-)

dietcherry 2011-05-07 09:36:52 -0500 Report

LOL Thanks! Ive already expressed my wishes to certain family members in the event of my death (I want to be cremated) and they get upset and disagreeable. So I just dont know how other decisons I try to make will be accepted. Their intentions are good but Im the baby of the family and they think they know whats best for me and refuse to consult with me! sigh If I ever get remarried that will solve that problem I guess!!!

Bubbelove 2011-05-07 12:05:55 -0500 Report

Don't bet on that!!! Your children will have plenty to say to your new spouse :-) It can be quite a war, after all, you are their flesh and blood. God forbid if my husband dies before me, I will certainly consult with his children. I can do what I want, but I also feel that the biological children should have a say, even if your spouse doesn't follow it. My husband will be buried with his first wife, and I with my first husband. I feel it is not fair to separate the children's parents. I've known many unpleasant situations between the biological children and a stepparent.

diabetesfree 2011-05-07 09:46:50 -0500 Report

There are some situations where you might not even trust your spouse with that much responsibility. Especially if you have a large life insurance policy. :-)

BTW, I hadn't logged-in to the Medic-Alert site in quite awhile, so I did so a few minutes ago. It has changed around quite a bit. You can specify that you have a DNR order on file without even sending them the document. They will engrave it directly on your bracelet (or whatever). Obviously, that is rather simplistic, but its still nice to have the option.

dietcherry 2011-05-07 09:53:27 -0500 Report

Oh man! That reminded me of a show I watched recently titled Spouses that Kill! or something similar so Im really feeling adrift now! But seriously, so I just need to find someone who doesnt care all that much about my DNR, final wishes, or is listed as a beneficiary! Back to square one… ;)

spiritwalker 2011-05-06 14:38:00 -0500 Report

I have a living will,a DNR order and a POA these are filed with my Dr.,medical facility,attorney, and the person who is to act on my behalf. I have made
arrangements for cremation and disposition of ashes. I feel that each person
should take care of this. Leaving things undone causes more confusion and
distress for those we love.

jayabee52 2011-05-06 14:47:59 -0500 Report

You got that right, Mary! When my Jem passed last July she had only filled out the so called "living will" provided by Kaiser. There was no actual will concerning legal matters. What a mess! One can save their loved ones who are left behind a lot of stress by having your last wishes documented.

clj01 2011-05-06 09:45:35 -0500 Report

I have filled out the simple living will that is provided by the hospital when you are admitted. This is not the best living will a person can have, but it is basic. The other thing I have done, and I think everyone should do the same, is that I have let my wishes be known to my family in the event something happens and I am not able to make my own decisions. As others have said, it is also important to give that one family member who will honor your wishes a durable power of attorny. With this in place, there is a chance that your wishes will be carried out.

GabbyPA 2011-05-06 09:43:07 -0500 Report

This is a fantastic question. My husband and I have DNR's but we don't have a will or living trust at this time. I think that a living trust is much easier, at least in Florida. There is no probate with that and what we want to do is just passed to the next living person in line. This is what my parents did and it eliminates so much of the worry of taking care of every detail. Of course we are of modest means and don't have millions to concern ourselves with. That makes it easier too. LOL

Another thing to consider is taking care of funeral arrangements now so that loved ones don't have to make those decisions in time of grief.

BandonBob 2011-05-06 09:33:12 -0500 Report

As important as it can be to have a living will or a DNR one should ALWAYS have someone with a durable power of attorney to speak for them if needed. That person should be aware and stong enough to follow your wishes regardless of pressure from hospital staff. When my wife was dying we had all the proper documents and I had her power of attorney. I had a tremendous battle with the staff as they wanted to do heroic measures to bring her back. At this point she was unable to see, to hear and to move on her own. She could no longer communicate and I asked them "bring her back for what?" If it had not been for the hlelp of the local hospice people I might not have been able to carry out my wife's wishes depsite having all the proper paperwork.

Gimpalong 2011-05-07 01:18:51 -0500 Report

Hi Bob and Oz, I know exactly what you are talking about. Even though my husband had all the proper papers, the hospital just didn't want to listen to me. I finally had to call our attorney to come over and help keep my husband's wishes carried out. At that time, it is hard enough to deal with the death, let alone trying to deal with all the other that is being thrown at you. Take care and have a great weekend. God bless

Somoca 2011-05-06 06:37:56 -0500 Report

i am in the middle of changing mine. iam DNR and family and some friends do not agree with it. the real name for it is medical power of attorney.

jayabee52 2011-05-06 13:51:29 -0500 Report

DNR orders are different than the durable medical power of attorney. DNR means simply "Do Not Recussitate" and comes into effect when CPR is or the defibrulator is needed. I worked as a CNA in home healthcare, and was often the only "medical" person in the home when I was there. The DNR bound me to NOT attempt to bring the patient back if the patient had a signed DNR.

One story: I was sleeping at home and the next door neighbor frantically pounded on our door at 3 AM wanting us to come and give her "Willie" CPR.
The paramedics had already been called. My (now ex) wife and I rushed there, and since we both were trained in CPR we did the 2 man CPR. We had been working on Willie for about 5 min when the paramedics arrived. When they got there they told us to stop the CPR, as Willie had a DNR order Louise neglected to tell us about. Willie had been a lung cancer patient in the last stages of the condition.

Somoca 2011-05-06 14:22:28 -0500 Report

This isn't what I asked but I appreciate the story jayabee, thank you dear. Perhaps I didn't ask the question clearly. I want to know if the person I have chosen to handle my medical power of attorney has to be in front of the notary with me there because he and I live in different cities.

jayabee52 2011-05-06 14:41:02 -0500 Report

I was referring to the reply above which starts with "i am in the middle of changing mine," It seemed to me you were confusing DNR orders with medical power of attorney.

Different states have different rules governing Notaries. Probably your best bet is to find a notary in the state & city in which you want to have your Med Pwr of Atty signed and ask them what is required. And if you absolutely cannot be there, ask if there is any other way (like sending your signed ID card to the person who will be signing to show to the Notary.) If you both absolutely have to be there, then could that person come to you and sign it before a notary in your city?

diabetesfree 2011-05-06 05:40:09 -0500 Report

I think that what you are referring to is a durable power of attorney for healthcare. That allows a person you designate to make healthcare decisions for you. It can either be effective immediately upon signing, or it can "kick in" in the event you are incapacitated. This is a fairly wide-ranging document that can assign someone to act on your behalf in a number of situations, such as legal and financial affairs, or it can be simply limited to healthcare decisions.

An advance health care directive or living will usually spells out what you would like to have done in the event of some incapacitating illness. It doesn't necessarily assign a specific person to make these choices for you, and is viewed more of as a "suggestion" to your family and healthcare providers, unless you are incredibly specific about all possible situations that may be encountered. It is fairly uncommon that someone could take all possible future medical scenarios into account, so you are better off with a durable power of attorney, if you can find someone you absolutely trust to act on your wishes.

The most common form of advance health care directive is generally known as a DNR, or Do Not Resuscitate order. This is usually a simple, one-page form kept on file at your Doctor's office or local hospital that tells healthcare providers not to perform CPR or take other life-saving measures in the event that your heart stops.

The biggest problem I have with these documents is that they are either so vague as to not be useful in the event they should come into play, or they give another person the ability to make life-or-death decisions on your part, whether they are medically qualified to do so or not. It's been my experience, in actual practice, that if you are ever in a situation where a decision needs to be made on whether to "pull the plug" that often the person you trust to make the right decision is heavily pressured by Doctors, hospital staff, medical facility administrators, insurance representatives and family members to make decisions that may not always be in your best interest.

At one point I had to make such a decision for a family member and was basically forced by the hospital to attend a "meeting" between myself, a hospital administrator, attending physician (employed by the hospital), the hospital's lawyer and some kind of employee at the hospital with the title of "director of religious services" (or something similar sounding) who, despite the fact that this was supposedly a Catholic hospital, was not Catholic and laid some guilt trip on me about how much better off my family member would be if they were dead. The whole meeting was completely one-sided, and the opinions were definitely not in my family member's best interest. Needless to say, these "professional opinions" I was being given had a lot more to do with money than with doing what was right in this particular circumstance. As it turned out, they were completely incorrect in their medical assumptions, and it was a good thing I wasn't swayed by their pressure tactics.

IMHO, the best way to make sure that your REAL wishes are carried out is to have a talk with ALL of your family members at once, and be very, very specific about what your wishes are ahead of time. Go into every kind of possible scenario you can think of and make sure to answer any questions that they have. You should also include your Doctor in the discussion, or relay the same information to them, as well as put a highly detailed form of your wishes in writing in the form of an advance healthcare directive. Encourage your family members to get a second opinion, rather than solely relying upon the opinion of hospital staff. If you have a spouse, or someone that you absolutely, positively trust to not only act in your best interest, but to be emotionally capable of handling the situation despite outward influences, then assign them a durable power of attorney for healthcare. It's impossible to have all the possible bases covered, but everyone will be infinitely better off if you do all of this well ahead of time, rather than waiting until some tragic event forces your loved ones to make decisions that they aren't prepared for.


dietcherry 2011-05-06 09:05:36 -0500 Report

WOW You know a lot about this! Do you do this for a living? If so, can we pick your brain? lol :)

diabetesfree 2011-05-06 09:18:18 -0500 Report

Nope, I don't do it for a living. I had to go through all of this stuff a few years ago. I wouldn't care to repeat it! I've talked to my family about my own wishes though and had a fairly complex living trust and will set up for me by my attorney. The financial side of things is a whole other horror story. :-)

jayabee52 2011-05-06 04:54:37 -0500 Report

I don't like "living wills" as they are cut and dried. In that way they are not living — but a dead document. If you say "no dialysis," for instance, then if the Dr tells your loved ones dialysis would save you if you have a few treatments to get you past a rough patch, but you were unable to make your wishes known, then the "living will" speaks for you, no matter what the extenuating circumstances.

But I have given my son Jon a durable medical power of attorney to make medical decisons when I can't. We've talked extensively about my feelings on medical treatments & proceedures, and he understands and is good with doing that should the need arise. I have his name in my medical records as my designated decision maker so there are no squabbles in the family about it.

He also has the legal power of attorney too should I be unable to manage my own affairs.

dietcherry 2011-05-06 00:19:34 -0500 Report

Yes I have one; since I have no children, everything I own goes to charity. If I get married again of course that will change.

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