Let’s begin by dispelling a common misconception—a living will is not the same as a will. In fact, a living will has nothing to do with who gets your stuff when you die. A living will simply provides written documentation that explains what will happen to you if you’re ever terminally ill or in a permanently unconscious state.
For example, if two doctors believe to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that you will never regain the ability to make decisions for yourself, a living will dictates what the doctors will do next. Most people request that they receive comfort care and medication to relieve their pain, but other times they just want their doctor to “pull the plug” because they don’t want to be kept alive by artificial nutrition or hydration. Simply put, a living will takes the decision of whether to stop further treatment out of your loved ones’ hands.
You may remember the tragic case of Terri Schiavo, a Floridian woman who fell into a vegetative state after suffering massive brain damage from cardiac arrest in 1990. Despite the fact that multiple physicians determined that she would never recover, an intense legal battle pursued over whether to continue Terri’s life support. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, wanted to have her feeding tube removed to allow her to die naturally, but her parents wanted to keep Terri on artificial life support. The result was a seven-year legal struggle, which could have been prevented by a living will. Terri eventually passed away after her feeding tube was removed in 2005.
If you have questions about living wills, please do not hesitate to give us a call. Our attorneys are located throughout the state of Ohio and would be happy to meet with you to answer your questions. Call us at 877.912.3464 or click here to request a consultation.