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McCurrie McCurrie
& McCurrie, L.L.C.

680 Kearny Avenue
Kearny, NJ 07032-3010
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Living will is for 'the other guy,' until you need one

You hear it all the time. "You always think something is going to happen to the other guy, not you." The one's who say that are usually survivors and always those who can actually say it, not someone who has suffered a disaster that leaves them unable to communicate.

New Jersey attorneys with expertise in formulating living wills know that for those victims, it's too late. The truth is, everyone should have a living will. And the time to create one is now, because no one knows when they might suffer an accident or other mishap that leaves them unable to speak for themselves.

We proffer this observation in the wake of a recent Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com poll that shows that 64 percent of American baby boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964, have not instituted any sort of document to say how their medical care should be handled if they can't participate in the decision themselves.

Whether it's called a health care proxy, living will, health care power of attorney, or advance health care directive, most people don't think they need one. It seems that if we feel healthy, we feel we are invincible. But all you have to do is look to the news for evidence to the contrary.

There was the story of two apparently healthy runners who collapsed and died during the Philadelphia Marathon last month. And then there was running guru, Jim Fixx, who died of a heart attack, after a run. He was 52.

And don't forget about Terri Schiavo, who at 26 collapsed without end-of-life instructions documented. What resulted from that was a multi-year court fight between family members over removing her feeding tube. That case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

When there's so much at stake, it just makes sense for every New Jersey resident to have a living will in place so that they can be sure that someone they trust will make the right decisions on their behalf if ever they can't.

Source: AP, USAToday, "Most baby boomers feel young, don't have living wills," Nov. 16, 2011

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