Posted on Mar 13, 2019

The Importance Of Advanced Directives

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Luke Perry’s death has taught us many things.  As an estate planning and probate attorney, I have been taught the lesson too many times that life is fragile and death knows no age.  Hearing about the stroke suffered by Luke Perry which resulted in his death was yet another eye opener to this fact. 

After the death of celebrities, you always read the articles and hear the news about whether they had a Will.  Everyone is always curious about who gets the family fortune.  Everyone wants to know if the family is going to fight the Will and whether Will Contests will be filed. 

The purpose of this article is to discuss those documents that should be part of EVERY estate plan.  Can you imagine never having the conversation with your loved one regarding what would they want if they are ever in a vegetative state, suffering from a terminal condition where death is imminent, or suffering from an irreversible condition where there will never be any quality of life.  Can you imagine if your loved one is on life support and will never regain consciousness or they are left in any one of the conditions referenced above.  Now imagine if you were the one that had to make the decision whether to disconnect life support. 

I have seen too many times where family members are faced with this unimaginable decision. 

If only there was any way to truly know what that person would have wanted.  I am here to tell you there is.  Everyone knows there are documents that can be prepared and signed to protect your loved ones as much as possible from having to make such a horrific decision.  The problem we see is people don’t want to talk about it. Based on the information from FORBES.COM, Luke Perry gave his family the greatest gift having his estate plan in order.  I am not just talking about his Will, but almost equally as important, and in some cases even more important, he most likely had his incapacity planning documents in order.  A Directive to Physicians, also known as a “Living Will” is that document that is used to declare a person’s wishes if they were suffering from a terminal condition where death was immediately imminent or from an irreversible condition, that they can elect to remove all life sustaining measures. 

This is a very personal decision.  There is no right or wrong answer.  The point is just to have the documents in place so YOU are making this decision and not leaving it up to your family, or even worse, a Judge.  Please speak with a qualified estate planning attorney to understand all of the incapacity planning documents and the importance of each of them.  Especially what happens if you do not have them in place.

Life is fragile and death knows no age.  Let the passing of Luke Perry teach us this very important lesson.  Have your affairs in order.  Do not leave these decisions up to your family.  Give them the greatest gift you could ever leave them.

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Lori Ashmore Peters
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Helping Dallas, Park Cities, Highland Park Texas Area Families with Estate Planning, Probate & Litigation