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Living Wills: The Importance of End-Of-Life Guidance

July 10, 2020

COVID-19, civil unrest, and Presidential elections have dominated the news cycle and the minds of many Pennsylvania citizens. However, there is one topic that is seeing an increase in consideration by many amidst the several issues pressing this nation. That topic is living wills.

In an article by Jeffrey Jones, titled Prevalence of Living Wills in U.S. Up Slightly, which can be found below, Mr. Jones highlights a recent Gallup poll showing that there has been a five (5%) percent increase in U.S. adults drafting a living will. Additionally, when specific socioeconomic classes were asked whether they had a living will, the data showed a double increase in several of these targeted classes.

What exactly is a living will? A living will is a legal document that states an individual's end-of-life wishes. A living will allows a person to make decisions governing the initiation, continuation, withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment.

When a person is unable to make their own health care decisions, their wife, husband or other family member may be called in to make those difficult choices. Fortunately, a person can make health care decisions prior to becoming incapacitated by executing a living will. Having this document will aid your family when making hard choices, prevent possible conflicts, and guide your physicians when deciding a patient's end-of-life issues.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there are several requirements that must be met when drafting a living will. Some of the requirements deal with age, education level, marital status, and competency. Additionally, there are requirements with how the document is signed.

Deciding whether to have a living will can be a difficult choice for many. However, this document can help your loved ones make extremely challenging issues. In the article mentioned above, 25% of U.S. adults have had to make decisions about end-of-life procedures. This number is ten (10%) percent higher when older U.S. adults were asked whether they have had to make end of life decisions.

In addition to the requirements when drafting a living will, there are several issues that may arise after the drafting and execution of the living will. Some of these issues may include revocation, duration of the living will, and issues about whether the living will is valid. These issues can be possibly prevented if a living will is drafted by a licensed Pennsylvania attorney.

A living will can save time, ease difficult situations, and provide security and comfort. It is important and almost necessary to begin planning for the future in today's world. Your loved ones will appreciate and remember your care and love even more because of your planning.

If you are interested in having a living will drafted or want to know more, Attorney Colt A. McKelvey at McKelvey Law Offices, LLC will be able to help. Please contact him by phone at (814) 254-2931 or email at Check out our website for more information:

Click Here to view Jeffrey Jones' Article Mentioned in this Blog