If there anything to be learned from the headlines today, it’s that now is the time to decide what kind of medical treatment you want, as there may be a time when you won’t be able to decide for yourself. And that’s exactly what it is. Your decision. Not your spouse’s, not your parents’, not W’s. Wills and estate planning are something that everyone know that they should do, but an Advance Directive can be even more important.
An Advance Directive is more than just filling out a form saying if you want to be kept alive by machines. You must carefully decide at what point and in what situations you want to discontinue life support, and each state has their own definitions and rules. Above all, please discuss with all of your loved ones and make your wishes known in addition to having it in writing. This .pdf file has some good information about Advance Directives.
You can find the appropriate forms for your specific state here. My wife and I are filling this out tonight. We talked with doctors and friends in the healthcare profession. It will be an awkward topic to bring up with our parents, but if anything we can thank Terri for making it not so awkward.