Living Will Basics
So we are going to talk about living wills and that's. The same is advanced directives it's living and its will, and so I just want to quickly get our feet back into the room from where we left off before lunch, which is a wills summary just so we can get it all right in our head and then transition into the next part, which is the living part of the will. So the main point of the will is have one. You should it's a good idea, and if you get stuck on the part where you aren't ready to make important life decisions now, you don't have to make you can change it later, but having something is better and my experience than having nothing at all. It isn't that hard, and it takes a couple of hours. We've already made a ton of progress, with the questionnaire getting everything pretty much prepped and everyone should have one, which is the same as have one, but I'm saying it again out of the three main points to or have one, I work with an attorney and or consult with one. Is one way you can ...
get it done. Online options. There are a number of big ones out there. Legalzoom rocket lawyer no. Law has been around for a long time. There's quicken will maker. That is a big, huge best selling software program. There are many out there and you can find the one that's right for you. You can also create a legally binding document of your own. Again, make sure you understand all of it and make sure that it works for you. Consider the information. Make choices complete it. Make sure there's good for your state. Sign it, notarize it with two witnesses and store it safely and distributed to a couple of people safely and bam, you're good. So part of will and living wills is the word advanced directives it's a great kind of ah, very specific phrase. But with all of this stuff, thinking about things in advance and giving the information and a direct way is important. And like everything else in this, you know, like what is your favorite color versus doing need to trust? And what quality of life means for you is for you, and this is an opportunity for us to be thinking about it, get the road blocks and barriers out of the way and make it easy to communicate your family what you want and then everybody gets to have thanksgiving dinner rather than waiting here like you can't come to the table unless this is done they're like ok ok especially with really good gravy like I hope that you're on knew how to make a good brave because I would get me at any table I would sign anything for a great meal like that yeah yeah perfect and love story was there yeah um and you know, we are getting close to the holidays thinking about the new year clearing the runway perhaps for a good time not just getting through the holidays but you know, focusing on what's important through them and so there's nothing like a living will and again it depends everything that we're talking about is a really good information you get to make your own decisions and please please please understand everything that you sign and make sure that it's right for you rock your life it's yours so we're talking about and a life and living wills so let's just put that out there um is a really important thing and again like with wills it really doesn't take that long to dio and it can save a little a little bit of time now khun save a giant enormous avalanche of suffering and confusion it can make ah hard time already aa lot lot lot harder and we just don't want to do that we're about removing optional suffering inviting mohr life enjoy right? Who wants more suffering? The hard question we're gonna start off with the hard ones, like more joy. Yea, so that's what we're going to do more joy so just keep remembering that. So we're going to go through for just about five or ten minutes what it is, and then we're gonna go through talking about what's in it. But I want you to understand the lay of the land first, so we know what we're doing. A living will is really about your wishes, it's about medical care, specifically what you do and what you don't want you also we talked about the durable power of attorney power of attorney for medical in the wills section, you're also naming somebody or, you know, with backups, a couple of people in order of preference, who you feel is going to make who is going to follow your instructions, essentially, and somebody who you think is capable of being able to follow your instructions and like wills and some other things it's state specific. So you want to make sure that whatever you write is works for you and where you live, so the basics and here's the deal like with will's things can get complicated right there's a ton of scenarios with will's that we talked about like what if this and if a trust and so there's just the same way that there's multiple if ans if yes this if no that it's the same with medical stuff and the same way that people who are having a hard time it's easy to fight about the details right it's much easier to argue over trust fund or who gets the china set than it is to sit down and talk about the fact that you're sad? So when it comes to money people people talk a lot about money because there's feelings attached now we're talking about life and death and what that means to you and so let's just all acknowledge that this is this is territory and that depending on who you are and who you're talking to, there could be some land mines in here so let's just talk about the land mines and talk about finding out the right steps that we need to take to avoid them as well as we pause so they can and or if one goes off how to stop the bleeding right? Okay, so things get complicated in medicine often as in life as in love as in many things it's not that black and white um and here is where I want to share just a little bit about my experience, which is what's bringing me here to talk with you guys really is that after a number of days in the hospital, my late husband's injuries were so significant and so severe that they use the word, you know, like a kn recoverable and so in a way, the choice was made for me in the sense he could never get better medical care turned into medical intervention in my case, and so my decision, my approval to remove medical support was I felt honestly, like, um like a gift I could give him to end suffering where he wasn't ever going to get any better like that it was the damages were just far too severe for him, um, physically to ever come back and or brain function. And so I have literally want to say that the thing that out of all of the things that terrified me honestly, one of the things that left me feeling most shattered and most vulnerable and most filled with, um, fear and shame and all of these conflicting feelings was that he he never woke up, but if he had, then black and white became gray and white is this big and black is this big and gray is a big space, and I want to say that even though I know I know I know I know I know and we talked about it that I know what his level of quality of life wass and that the injuries left him in a way that was unacceptable to him I feel that completely with every bone in my body and I will tell you that had he fluttered an eyelid I don't know what I would've done next I'm just saying that it could have been a game changer for may and I knew what he wanted and then I was looking at somebody that I loved and cared about and that your emotions are there and that it scared me that I didn't know what I would dio or how long I would let something go or how long it even could go if it was what he didn't want because because now we're talking about me and what I could do and not talking about him and like our wills are living wills were also titley and in their final draft sitting in my inbox as they had been for months waiting to be signed so in this in our state because we were legally married the decision came to me um and I knew what he wanted and it was hard for me to do it and I want to say that even my situation was black and white and it was hard to do it and so when you have an opportunity to give somebody your directions in advance and you talk to them about it and you say this is a gift I'm giving to you because I don't want you to ever have to worry, I don't want youto have toe I wonder, and I want you to have to think about whether or not you did or didn't do the right thing in taking as much of this guesswork out of this for you because I love you is an important thing, and that is what I want us to hold the little campfire that we're building, that we're talking about. That is what we're talking about when we go to these, you know, intense places about what quality of life means to write, like, you know, we're going to breathe a little bit with rex bit it's intense and love to be okay with that, but what we're doing is we're giving somebody a gift and giving a gift is a really important thing, so let's, talk about it as given a gift, okay, okay, okay. Okay. So quality of life, what is important to you? So one of the things that is very tempting to do is to start talking about details, like getting into the weeds of so if this happens in this in this in this and I'm gonna then what would happen? That's a that's a nice place for us to get to you but let's start with what's important right the same way we want to talk about wills the same way we want to talk about life the same way you talk with your people about you know, like we're buying a house what's important to you about buying houses it it's not necessarily price range it's where do you live? How much do we want to work to be able to afford the house quality of life what's important to you? So we're going to start with that and a good way to define what's important to you is to really think about your values um and what your goals are for your life. So jumping in um the questions that you want your living will to answer so remember we're talking about writing things down their instructions that people then can follow we want we want to define as much as we can, what quality of life means to you and when you start to drill down into that there's the catastrophic accident scenario but that's, I'm not as common as a lot of other scenarios where we're talking about disability we're talking about um hospice we're talking about an illness that's not getting better, we're talking about terminal illnesses that are on a course of time and when and where you are nothing on your family and you how we want to talk about being as comfortable and keeping your quality of life as high as you can as you move forward doing that. So disability is one thing like how much of your brain and body function is important to you in your life, you know, mobility, being able to know who's in the room, being able to talk, being able to engage, not being able to talk, but being able to hear like thes, they're some of the things that we'll start to talk about, you know, we're talking about the things that we prioritizing value every day. Um, the other thing is that if you are dealing with an illness or if you're dealing with an accident, sometimes the situation is is very severe, but it can get better sometimes a situation can't get better, so when people are making a decision for you and things are serious or dire or significant, how much better would you have to get for that to feel worth a teo? And sometimes if somebody this's one of the ways where, you know, like deion ours, do not resuscitate somebody who is chronic illness, chronic things that has been in and out of the hospital, perhaps a lot of times has some opinions about I'm not getting better, or if I can get this much better, I'm willing I'm willing to go through this if I if the chance of getting here is is is ok and whatever that chances some people's answer would be a snowball's chance in hell do everything possible everything everything everything don't ever quit I want everything I want like mermaid blood pumped into my veins I want I want you to do everything and then other people would be like I don't care I've been on that respirator a number of times I never want to do that again and so personal personal personal the option while we're talking about what quality of life means to it doesn't mean that you can't say do everything possible because that's up to you to um what's most important and what's not acceptable to you so one of the things that's helpful to define is is what you want and then you weaken start there and we can also define the things that are just not ok so in a living will here are some examples that I have gathered from other ones that people have sent me it's interesting to do what I do because people like I have a living well here it is why don't you take a look at it? I have a giant pile of other people's living wills which are as varied as snowflakes let's just go with like purple fish it depends everyone's a snowflake so and it's it's fascinating to see what's in there the abundance of information or the complete lack thereof you know and again it's really, really personal so when defining what you want um that's a helpful tool for people be able to say, where is that line and what you want how much better or not better do I need to be I want to be able to do this if I can't do that then that doesn't work for may I want to be able to verbally communicate and what are some of the examples of those things that's my goal or if something is you know we deal a lot with illnesses illnesses that aren't going to get better um and what your quality of life choices are for your care in that situation as well and somebody's goal could be I want to stretch it out as long as possible like and be one hundred eighty seven no matter what by any means necessary that is good for you to write down somebody else could say I don't want I don't want I want to have the highest quality of life possible and any medical or comfort care that I get I wanted to like amp up the quality of life that I have as high as possible and I'm not I'm not attached to how long that isthe other people might have specific goals like I want I want to see my daughter's wedding next spring also, you know, important, and that would be one of those things where you look at it every now and then on def, I don't. If I'm not able to do something, then that's something that's important to note to, um, defining what you want, defining what you don't want, um, specific examples that I've seen from other people's I hate the ventilator, and I never want to do that again. That's something that somebody wrote that I'm sharing with you. If there's no way I can ever go home and I have to be institutionalized or in a nursing home with no chance of getting better, I don't want that. And so these are things that people, these are things that you can write down, and the more you give us instructions, the more we can be really clear about what that means to, um, here's the part that I'm going to just put up there, that whenever I show this slide, this is where everyone goes like this, and and if you're ever going to hate me, now is the time and here's why I try not to hate me for long if you d'oh describing what that looks like is important and it's hard for us to know, because we don't have examples of this anyone who's like older than twenty maybe I don't know maybe this was a long time ago but the terri schiavo case was one of the uh one of the ones that I remember and one of the big ones of you know, the last few decades or so where end of life and living wills and became a really big deal and so if I remember the circumstances it wass she and her husband had talked about it the living wills weren't signed making them legally binding and her parents disagreed it might be slightly nuanced but the deal is that so there was a fight and there was no legal document to back it up and it became a really big deal not just for the family just to think about the years of stuff and the fighting and the ex just all the extra right um but it also it also is just like this huge thing that everybody could then imagine so what that is is that you know I'm not a medical doctor but it's a persistent vegetative state that's one of the things that's often included that terminology and in a will there are many people who say absolutely feed and water me as long as possible and there's other people who say if if that's not ok for me I'm not doing it and so again that is a line and there's a example that you can look at a really, really big um accidents or illnesses like the diving bell and the butterfly is a book in a movie that many people have read it's about somebody who essentially was in a locked in state so they weren't necessarily going to get better but they were alive for a while and they had very, very, very limited ability to communicate essentially blinking through on I read the book a while ago for some people they would say absolutely this is maya bill that's away I can engage in the world and that that rocks it from a I'm totally good with that again, other people they may not and then there's also accidents, you know, really severe accidents that really impact other people's ability to be mobile to communicate, to not communicate and so I mean christopher reeve, america's hero this is the part if you haven't figured out where everyone hates me, superman, what you're talking about, you don't talk about superman like that. I know, but the deal is is that there was a time probably after that accident where the wife had to make some decisions based on how much better he could be and what the prognosis wass and my hope is that that was a conversation they had and that the quality of life that they experienced post accident was something that they lovingly agreed to ahead of time so that's what I'm talking about ready for a moment of them need one blade of grass nature we're all just small specks yeah it's important but it's also yeah yeah ok so there's your moment is then of a question yeah in relationship to the living will and what we just talked about what about when things change like post the accident you know, you may say man, I don't want that and I definitely don't want that I for sure don't want that but then once you're there and you're in there how does how can things can things change? Can things be updated? Well yeah so first of all things change all the time so that's a great question a lot of different change depends on whether it's your physical situation that that changes that you can get a lot better or a lot worse really quickly sometimes um whether you change your mind whether you personally change your mind um the the thing is that you want to think through this clearly and so somebody assumes medical power of attorney for you when you're no longer able to speak for yourself. So if somebody is making choices for you it's because you're no longer able tio so at that point you are in a place where you're likely not able either not able to change your mind because your injuries or your illness are impacting brain function or or you're not able to communicate that verbally or somehow because because your body is not able to do that if your if your brain still still is and so that's why I'm picking somebody who has had a conversation with you about values and what's important and some details to back that up is most important so so we can have kind of ah an anchor with which to guide all of the variables and potential change that can happen and at the end of the day they do they are in control so if I said a roadmap to say do not do this can they can they change their mind and say well not quite that situation I'm going to say this is ok for now because of a b or c that's a great question and that's that comes up a lot in how to make one and then also what really happens in real life right? So um you can designate someone is your power of attorney and it's absolutely bob bob is my medical power of attorney and as soon as I'm not able to speak for myself um bob is then in charge of your life and your life body physically until you die once once you're you're not alive anymore the power the medical power of attorney is is over because they're managing our quality of life not what happens to you after you die um now bob is the decider but you also have um all of these information in these wishes listed and hopefully other people rather than just bob has a copy of that um if you go if somebody is going tio execute on this as a legally binding document you have tohave it and be able to show it and say I have power of attorney and here's my my thing if you don't have a document that's legally binding, then you go to the default version of um I'm not having anything at all, so you have to have something to show to show somebody and it has to be legally binding if bob has if bob is the only one with a copy of it, you know, bob's in charge and here's my wishes so that come but if bob doesn't want to enact your wishes um they're really, really, really clearly stated anyway, and so you have a lot more ability to say bob has been chosen as is a steward of my wishes to execute on them, and if bob doesn't want tio, then somebody else like the doctor or somebody else has a copy of it and they can clearly see what your wishes are so bob's feeling if bob's having some feelings bob also we also have the backup of of the paper great, I think that answers your question in the longest way possible answers here I answered it perfectly thank you basically your your wishes will be will be respected yes yes yes if you write them down sure more than twelve and and sure the north you're bob but the deal is bob hand to show up generally that just can't be like hey, I'm the medical pop attorney and I say no he's like well bob welcome toe but please let let us see the wishes and then a bob and your wishes don't mash what we do have is a legally binding document of your actual wishes, right? Yeah, but it just so carring tapering bob and bob doesn't have right to anything because malls just some wacko walks off the street right? But you're doing copyright teo does the hospital get a copier? So when when you're engaged with an organization bob has to it bob comes into the hospital and says I am power of attorney they don't go well that's cool have a seat will get a copy they'll say hey, do you have your paperwork, bob? Yeah and then bob will have to provide them but if bob's never comes in, then then perhaps some somebody else has a copy of your living will hopefully I'm going to give copies to multiple people, right? So one of the things you want to do is with your with your important documents like these you want to give them to people a couple of people so let's say bobby that a town on safari or something like that you have a backup power of attorney medical power of attorney and probably a third back up which would be good and then those people listed have have a copy of that too or they know where to find one and most likely at least your executive power of attorney the person in charge of your will because if something is that serious where we're pulling out living wills there's other there's other details happening too so not just one person should have it and certainly somebody should have it a couple of people stored safely yeah so it's it's just back up back up back up can the power of attorney be medical power of attorney b three people cannot be multiple people um having three people decide where to go toe lunch is even about it having three people decide what to do uh during a highly charged thing my experience is that I've not heard of anyone doing that um before and I think that it doesn't make things easier I think that the opportunity to make it more complicated might be there so I have heard of a situation where somebody has three kids and they want to have all of these children won't have a role in in you know this particular example it is a woman's end of life wishes at the end of a long ah battle with cancer and so uh she had her three children involved in a way that was not complicated on dh somebody else uh do the power of attorney the medical piece yeah thank you for answering that cause that's what exactly what I was thinking you have three kids and which one is you know how do you how do you decide that grant thank you right I mean for me personally there were three kids there man my brother and sister were all in the hospital room and we all decided my father had a living will so he told us what he wanted to do that he didn't want to be on life support so we and we all agreed with that so it was a really it was a comfortable situation we're all happy with our decision we made it right away but I just makes me think about a mother with a twenty year old son that changes everything you have a follow that's older and it's at the end of his life you're ready for him to go and this is obviously it's time that's one thing but you know twenty year olds aren't making living wills and the mother just would not want to lose their son ever like they'd wanted you know that's where it gets really really and everyone almost needs a living well at that point it's not just one year over fifty right it's not yeah, as people get older, it's most people don't have one right over half of folks. I don't have a will and that's just talking about your stuff of it's about seven in ten roughly people don't have a living will and as you get older, you more more people have it when you're getting close to retirement essentially. But young people don't. And so when you have an icy use a situation and somebody's otherwise young and healthy, the default at least the default as shared with me from my friend who is a nice you doc, is they'll do everything possible that will do everything possible for as long as possible to keep otherwise young and healthy people alive and that's what they do and they're getting better and better and better at keeping people alive longer they khun do more and more amazing things all the time with that which has saved lives and also extended lives that may or may not have been meant to be extended stand that circles back to the quality of life question right? Right. So let's, do this let's take a little a little move a little bit stressed. Let's have a little expansiveness, expansive moment