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Ethical Wills: Putting Your Values on Paper

by Barry K. Baines

As evidenced in the Terri Schiavo case that made national headlines, having a living will is an essential element in ensuring that the way in which you would like to spend your last days will be respected. It informs both family and doctors of your medical treatment preferences in specific situations. An ethical will is a complementary text that communicates personal values, beliefs, blessings, and advice to relatives and to future generations. It can be more meaningful to friends and family than any material possession you could bequeath to them. Together, living and ethical wills ensure that your wishes and hopes are "on the record," not to be lost, ignored, or forgotten. Offering practical and inspirational advice for people at any stage of life,Ethical and Living Willsincludes: --Three recommended writing approaches to capturing our feelings for posterity --Expert information for understanding the legal and practical issues involved in documenting your medical care and treatment preferences in commonly occurring situations --Advice on when to distribute both ethical and living wills -- Tips to protect the legacy you leave in an ethical will-preparing and caring for the document you create

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