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Preparing for the future by creating a living will

Whether you live in Houston or elsewhere, thinking about your death can be scary. Most of us would rather not think about how we will spend our last days and weeks. Unfortunately, no one has a crystal ball. Health scares and serious accidents can come out of nowhere.

The author of a recent news article wrote about her brother's cancer diagnosis and subsequent death. The 44-year-old father of two was diagnosed with Stage IV Malignant Melanoma. The disease had progressed so far that it had spread to other organs.

The man was given the option of pursuing chemotherapy to prolong his life. He didn't want to give up without a fight. However, the treatments would have taken him away from his children. After talking with his doctor, he decided to forge ahead without the chemotherapy. He died 12 weeks later.

While tragic, this case is a reminder that people should be in charge of their health care decisions, especially end-of -life decisions.

A survey by John Hopkins revealed that most physicians would prefer to forgo life-sustaining measures if they become incapacitated. Whether or not that is true for other individuals, those kinds of decisions should be documented in a living will. In addition, those decisions should be discussed with family members and an individual's doctor.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring. While the future is uncertain, people in Texas and beyond have the power to make advanced plans. People with a living will can be certain that their wishes will be carried out when they are not longer able to make medical decisions for themselves.

Source: PennLive.com, "Linda Rhodes: Surveys show most doctors oppose life-sustaining treatment for themselves," Linda Rhodes, March 4, 2013

•· Our firm helps prepare, review and revise wills for people, including living wills. To learn more, please visit our Houston estate planning page.

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