Mar 15, 2015
By Attorney Rick Law of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law in Aurora, Illinois. Providing wills, trusts, probate, guardianship, estate plans, Medicaid crisis planning and much more to the residents of Kane and Kendall Counties
One afternoon, I met with a client who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, along with his wife of many years and a caring adult daughter. I proceeded to tell him that they needed to discuss one of the most difficult questions that families in crisis need to ask themselves—they needed to talk about feeding tubes, hydration/water, ventilators, and other life-prolonging treatment. These things are all the more difficult to deal with when looking at a man who has a high probability of being alive, incapable, and subject to the life-and-death decision making of his loved ones.
I took a breath and then looked into the client’s eyes…
“Your family needs to hear from you how you feel about life-prolonging treatment. I understand that you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. One of the things that may happen with Parkinson’s is that you may get to the point where you won’t be able to make your own life-and-death decisions. You may not actually die from Parkinson’s disease—but you have a high probability of dying from a complication of Parkinson’s. You may get to the point where the doctor comes to your family and says that you are unable to make a decision about life support, and they must decide whether or not you should have a feeding tube or hydration or a ventilator. What do you want your family to do? Do you want these things?”
He looked at me, and then to his family. He answered firmly, “I do not want that! Just keep me comfortable.”
That opened the conversation with his wife and his daughter. We asked them if they understood his wishes and if they would be able to make sure that his wishes were respected when other family members show up and insist that “we have to do everything we can for Dad!”
They were given a chance to talk, and after that the daughter said, “Dad, I am so grateful that I know what you want. It gives me such peace of mind to be sure about what you would want us to do.”
This is one of the most important reasons to visit a qualified Elder Law attorney. It is essential to get these items down in writing. Discussing end-of-life decisions with an attorney can be difficult, but it will give them clarity and peace of mind when these life support issues arise.
If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now.
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees
Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!
My wife and I had our first child three years ago. That’s when we decided to set up a trust, should anything happen to either of us. We reached out to Zach Hesselbaum to help us out. He was very thorough and professional throughout the whole process. Zach went above and beyond to make sure that we understood every detail of setting it up and he did an excellent job. We recently had our second child a few months ago. With the new baby, he helped us make the necessary revisions to the trust. Zach made this process great for us! I would definitely recommend using him for any of your estate planning needs!
Tom G., Naperville, IL