Those of you who have seen his Oscar nominated role in “The Descendants” will know that the plot concerns the implications of his wife being found to be brain dead and under a living will (They call it an “advance directive”) which you actually see she has asked to be taken off life support. Her husband and the Medical team wish to honour that and so start to tell all her friends (including her lover) that they must make their last farewells.
In England there has been a recent case where a lady was in a vegetative state but had limited perception alas still of pain. Unlike the patient in the film she had not left a living will but had merely told her relatives that she would not wish to be kept alive if she got into a vegetative state. The Judge was asked to allow the Doctors to turn off support and was given evidence of her spoken wishes. He stated that if she had left a living will he would have taken that into account but as she had not he could not and therefore the application failed. Presumably she is still being supported and alas still feeling pain.
These two situations highlight the fact that along with wills and lasting powers of attorney a Living Will is important if we wish to have some influence how we are looked after in our end time. Naturally not everyone wants to address this problem. The young seem to think they will live for ever but the reality is that ;whilst Alzheimer’s may not be a problem ;the young indulge in ever an ever widening range of activities that could result in a period in extensive care. Only today the Times is speaking of a doubling of the number of cycling deaths.
So thanks to George and The Descendants more and more will wake up the idea that whilst we cannot have complete control over our life we do have considerable influence in the manner of our death.
At Solicitor Direct we offer you a choice of 4 different wordings for your living will which should suit most preferences. Just call us or use the callback service and we will call you.