Living Will


Living Will - Having a one is Crucial

Have you ever given thought to who benefits from good estate planning? There are many good answers. Estate planning can benefit your spouse and it can benefit your descendants who stand to inherit your assets after your die. And in another sense it can benefit whoever is named as Trustee or Agent or Executor. That is because clear instructions make their jobs easier. But there is someone else who stands to benefit from good estate planning: you. Estate planning is not only needed to plan for your affairs after you die. It is needed to plan for you right now while you are alive. A recent situation we encountered in our practice illustrates that.

A living will is a document that records your end-of- life health care decisions. Each can be highly customized to the preferences of the individual. Almost invariably we find people do not want to be kept alive by artificial means when the doctors say your condition is terminal and there is nothing they can do to make you better.

So a living will is very much about your wishes. It documents what you want to happen if you are ever in that situation but for whatever reason you are unable to advocate for yourself any more. A living will is not about the wishes of your spouse or children. Nor is a living will about the preferences of any religious figures or your doctors or any government officials.

We have a client who is dying of cancer. Apart from her general fear of dying she has been very concerned about her brother, who is her closest family member. She is worried he will insist the doctors keep her alive artificially. And she definitely does not want that. She gets along well with her brother and she knows he loves her. But she recognizes he will be unable to refrain from compelling the doctors keep her alive by artificial means. So when we designed a personalized plan for her we were sure to include a living will for her that clearly expressed her choices.

Some months have now passed since she first came in to meet with us. Her condition has worsened and she may not have much time left. We recently spoke to a social worker at her rehabilitation center who told us about a conversation she recently had with the client’s brother. He said to the social worker exactly what the client said to us: that he was relieved to know that she had a living will in place. That meant he did not have to make a decision he knew he could not make. He confessed that if the decision was up to him he would not have been capable of telling medical personnel to let her die the way she wanted. It was a relief to him that that document meant he did not have to be the one to have to make that decision. Having that document in place serves as a sort of shield, making sure that her personal wishes are not superseded by the well-meaning wishes of a family member.

If you have any questions about the issues presented above or care to discuss any other planning issues, please call us at 860-769- 6938, visit our website or email us at


Living Will in CT

Categories: Validity of a Will


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