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10 Steps to Creating a Living Will

Dealing with Family Members

One's family members can be a powerful support system in drafting a living will and dealing with other end-of-life issues. However, this is also a time when differences -- over health care, over when to "pull the plug," over how to treat certain medical conditions -- can be exposed. For example, many family members might want a seriously ill relative to pursue all possible treatment options, even when late-stage treatments are often not effective and may make one's final days less comfortable [source: Spitz].

Of course, this is your health and ultimately your decision, so if you are concerned about the role of certain family members, it may be wise to make sure your plans are in writing -- not only in your living will but also in a letter explaining your decision to your family member. Such records help to show that you made decisions regarding your medical care and your health care proxy while still in a lucid state of mind.