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Living Wills


With a living will (health care power of attorney) you decide who can make health care decisions for you if you if canít make them for yourself. Equally as important, you can leave instructions for the kind of health care you want.


My clients sign a simple living will. I then provide them with a more comprehensive package called Five Wishesģ. This form will replace the simple living will. I advise my clients that family, friends, physicians and spiritual advisors, rather than an attorney, are the best sources for help in completing a living will. These decisions can take some time.


Five Wishes was initially developed by a man who worked for years with Mother Teresa, including a year in a hospice she ran in Washington D.C. He sought to find a way for patients and their loved ones to cope with and plan for serious illness. It has been worked on by the American Bar Association, featured on the Today Show and has been adopted by large government and business organizations for their employees. Five Wishes is promoted and kept current by the non-profit organization, Aging With Dignity. The five wishes are: 1) the person I want to make care decisions for me when I canít; 2) the kind of medical treatment I want or donít want; 3) how comfortable I want to be; 4) how I want people to treat me; 5) what I want my loved ones to know.


This is one of the few areas that I can recommend web-based estate planning assistance. The Aging With Dignity organization has a web site, www.agingwithdignity.org. You can review their form online and order copies for your own use.


To be valid in Minnesota, a living will needs to be signed by you and witnessed by two persons. Your health care agent should not be one of the witnesses. Good practice is to make copies for your health care agent, family members and your physician. Make sure the original is available in your home, where someone can find it when you need it. And, finally, you review should review your living will from time to time. Medical practice, and your own wishes may require periodic changes to your living will.


Law Offices of Richard Jensen

Rick Jensen, Attorney and Counsellor at law

(952) 944-0406     email: rickj@jenslaw.com


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