Choose Wisely

Do you know who will be making your end-of-life decisions when you are incapacitated? Joe John Sorce found out the hard way that failure to execute a healthcare directive or living will doesn’t mean you don’t have a healthcare agent, instead it means that your agent will be chosen by the laws of your state of residence. In Mary Clark’s case, the laws of the state of Nevada put her healthcare decisions into the hands of her long estranged daughter rather than her companion of 18 years.

Executing a healthcare directive and nominating a healthcare agent is not just about choosing the right person to make the big life-and-death decisions for you, it’s also about taking care of the loved ones you leave behind. Perhaps Mary Clark would have wanted to be removed from life-support, as her estranged daughter chose to have done, but she may also have wanted her beloved companion to be involved in the decision, and have a chance to say a peaceful goodbye.

Most people have strong wishes about life-support and end-of-life care, but rarely do they want those wishes carried out at the expense of their loved ones. Creating a healthcare directive which outlines those wishes is important not only for your own peace of mind, but also to ensure the peace of mind of your loved ones, those who will be left to mourn your absence after you’re gone.