Not Too Late To Let Someone Know
By Matthew Crider, JD
Family Wealth Protection Attorney
April 16th was National Healthcare Decisions Day. The point of this day of awareness is
to encourage adults to share their private wishes about medical care and end-of-life
decisions. Way too many adults harbor the mistaken belief that their loved ones would
“just know” what would be desired in an emergency situation. That assumption could
have adverse consequences.
The last thing your family needs in a moment of crisis is a family fight, and that’s exactly
what could happen if your loved ones disagree about what you “would have wanted.”
It’s a problem that is so easy to address…so easy to avoid, that it makes absolutely no
sense to leave this issue to chance.
A National Case Study
Do you remember Terri Schiavo? The case in Florida that tore a family apart, drew the
attention of national media, and became the topic of debate in households across
America? Schiavo was 26 years young when she had a heart attack that left her in a
permanent vegetative state. Schiavo’s family went to court and stayed in court for years,
all over questions regarding the removal of life support and feeding tubes.
That’s right . . . YEARS in court. People take these issues very seriously, and have
strongly held beliefs about these decisions. There is nothing wrong with strongly held
beliefs about how you feel about life support. Just be clear about what you want,
because not everyone may share your beliefs and desires (including people who may
be called upon to make decisions on your behalf).
Get It On Paper
Sharing your desires simply isn’t enough. Make sure that you get your wishes down on
paper and that the proper legal formalities are followed. Otherwise, your directives might
not be followed despite your best intentions. Besides that, having your wishes
expressed in writing will make things easier on your loved ones.
Emotions often run high when emergency situations present themselves. Your family
members love you and they will think about life without you around. There might even
be feelings of guilt over how certain they are about your wishes, and there might be
disputes between your loved ones about what you want . . . unless your wishes are in
Not Too Late To Let Someone Know
In Honor of The Holiday
Take this opportunity to share your wishes about end-of-life care and emergency
medical treatments with loved ones. Think about and discuss artificial life support (e.g.
feeding tubes and respirators). Consider types of care you would never want, if any,
and think about the types of side effects that would simply be unacceptable to you. Talk
about options and desires for long-term care, should the need arise.
Finally, you need to decide who you trust to make important decisions on your behalf.
We are here to support you as you begin thinking about these important issues. Of
course, the topic of conversation isn’t exactly a walk-in-the-park, but it’s won’t be as
hard as you think, either.
Get started by giving us a call and scheduling a Family Wealth Planning Session™. We
will talk through all of the important decisions that need to be made, and we can help
you get educated on the issues so that you can pass on the knowledge to your family
and friends. Recognize that time is truly precious and you can’t afford to waste it
wondering what will happen to your family (and you) if you become incapable of making
your own choices.
About Matthew Crider, J.D.
Matthew Crider formed Crider Law PC in 1999 so he could help
individuals and business owners by providing creative solutions and
be their trusted advisor and legal counselor. He serves his clients
by listening closely to their goals, dreams and concerns and
working with them to develop superior and comprehensive estate
and asset protection plans. His estate planning practice focuses on
preserving and growing wealth by providing comprehensive, highly
personalized estate planning counsel to couples, families,
individuals and businesses.