LANSING, Mich., March 24 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network — The Terri Schiavo case in Florida has sparked a lot of interest in end of life issues, according to the State Bar of Michigan. Visitors to the State Bar’s website
(http://www.michbar.org ) have quadrupled in the past few weeks.
“If there’s a lesson to be learned from this tragedy, it’s that adults
should make their wishes known and put them in writing,” said Nancy Diehl,
president of the State Bar. “It’s important to designate a person to speak
for you when you no longer can.”
The two most common ways to express those wishes are a Durable Power of
Attorney for Health Care or a Living Will.
“The Living Will is technically different because it’s a statement of
wishes, but it doesn’t name a patient advocate,” said Josh Ard, staff attorney
for Cooley Law School’s Sixty Plus Elder Law Clinic. “The Durable Power of
Attorney for Health Care dictates a patient’s wishes and appoints a
spokesperson to carry out those wishes.”
While there is no legal requirement to have the documents prepared by
attorneys, Ard believes that it’s a good idea to have an attorney review them.
“Medical terms can be confusing and mean different things to different
Once the forms are completed, copies should be given to patient advocates,
primary care physicians and family members. Ard suggests carrying a copy in
your vehicle’s glove compartment.
“Do it and then review it every four or five years,” said Diehl. “Putting
it off could be a big mistake; Terri Schiavo was in her late 20s when her
medical problems started.”
For additional information and to download the forms, visit the State
Bar’s website at http://www.michbar.org .
Web Site: http://www.michbar.org