Should You Have a Living Will? A Christian Lawyer's Perspective
- Thursday, September 11, 2008
Quite frankly, I believe something dangerous is happening with respect to the way living wills are coming to be understood by our society at large, something that is moving our culture closer to openly embracing euthanasia, or “mercy killing,” for anyone who can’t speak for themselves (even temporarily) and who appears to have poor prospects for resuming a high “quality of life” after an illness or injury.
So here are some considerations for a Christian who prefers to trust in God’s timing, rather than in the timing of someone who can’t or won’t distinguish between a living will and a “Do Not Resuscitate” order. First, you should be aware that although hospitals are generally required to inquire as to whether you have a living will, that does not mean you must have one to be admitted! They simply have to ask. But you aren’t required to answer “Yes”!
Second, you should be aware you can actually make a legally binding, written advance directive that states the very opposite of most living wills. In other words, you can specify your desire for all available health care treatment to be provided to you, no matter what your condition, and your overall preference for life under all circumstances. Secular attorneys may not be familiar with these unique types of advance directives, but many Christian attorneys should be. (If your attorney is not, then please refer them to the resources explaining these “Wills to Live”).
And, lastly, in the midst of any pressure, confusion, or doubt you may experience in wrestling with these end-of-life issues, please do not forget that each of us is a precious child of the King of the universe, a treasure to him of inestimable worth, and that his timing is perfect!
*This column contains generalized information only and is not intended as a substitute for the specific legal advice of your own attorney. Excerpted from The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues (Living Ink Books, an imprint of AMG Publishers, 2008). Copyright (c) 2008 by Stephen L. Bloom. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Stephen L. Bloom is a Christian lawyer serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. He wrote The Believer's Guide to Legal Issues (Living Ink Books) and frequently speaks on Christianity and law. For information, visit his website http://www.istherealawyerinthechurch.com
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