The Livens Law Firm

The need for a living will was shown in Joan Rivers' death

Due to medical advances and active lifestyles, many Texas residents look forward to living to a ripe old age.  Even so, unexpected events can occur that can change everything. Without a living will, family members may never know what their loved one would have wanted when it comes to making end-of-life decisions.  With the recent death of Joan Rivers, many people may be rethinking their estate plans.

Rivers was 81 years old and seemed to be in good health and full of life.  However, during what should have been a minor procedure, she had a massive coronary event that resulted in her being placed on life support.  Reportedly, Rivers did not want her life prolonged by machines.  Therefore, Rivers' daughter took her off life support in accordance with her mother's wishes. 

Because Rivers put her wishes in writing while she was alive, her daughter was not forced to make the heart wrenching decision -- her mother had already made it for her.  All her daughter had to do was carry out her wishes.  Without a living will, healthcare power of attorney or even a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order, family members might agonize over what their loved one would have wanted and could always second-guess whatever decision they end up making.

A living will removes that responsibility from family members.  When a Texas resident puts his or her end-of-life wishes down on paper in accordance with applicable laws, he or she is not only ensuring his or her wishes are followed, but also giving loved ones a gift.  There is no substitute for the peace of mind being relieved of that burden can provide.

Source: newsmaxhealth.com, "Joan Rivers Tragedy Spotlights End-of-Life Care Issues", Charlotte Libov, Sept. 8, 2014

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