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Advance Directives

I’ve previously written about the importance of having a comprehensive estate plan; one that includes a will or will substitute, durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney and an advance directive or living will.  The importance of having an advance directive was highlighted by the recent death of former boxing champion Hector Camacho.

After doctors in Puerto Rico determined Camacho had no remaining brain function, a dispute arose between his father and his aunts over when the fighter would be removed from life-sustaining machines.  Ultimately, the fighter’s family reached a compromise that extended Camacho’s life by only a few days so other family members could arrive to pay their respects.  However, the potential for a prolonged dispute could have been easily avoided had Camacho executed an advance directive or living will.

For North Carolina residents, the advance directive or living will allows an individual to affirmatively state what his or her wishes are should he or she be facing death.  Not only does a living will allow an individual to state what they would want to happen, but it also removes the individual’s family from the prospect of making difficult decisions during an already stressful time.  If you don’t have a living will as part of your estate plan, consider whether you would want your own loved-ones encumbered with the making such a difficult choice.