Living Wills Get New Attention

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You've seen her story on national and local news. Terri Schiavo's case is leaving many people wondering if perhaps her situation could ever happen to them.

According to longtime Meridian attorney Joe Clay Hamilton, the best way to deter this from happening is by writing a "living will." He says this means a document which states your healthcare desires if you are not able to make them yourself. He says one of the primary factors in this type of will is naming a power of attorney or person to make those decisions for you if you cannot.

"What you would do if you execute a power of attorney, you give a copy of the will to that person. You also put copies of what you execute for your medical file for your regular family doctor," says Hamilton.

In order to write an Advanced Care Directive or "Living Will" as it's most commonly known, you must be at least 18 years old and you can consult an attorney or the internet on how to write one.

Once on the internet, you can type in the words "living will" in almost any search engine and get a number of responses that contain paperwork that you can print off, fill in the required information and then be used as your official living will.

So with this the question is: if the need were to arise, could this stand up in court?

To this, Hamilton says, "Anything can be challenged. If someone wants the costs to do it they can do it. But I think with one of these, there's little doubt that you would prevail with this Advanced Care Directive."