Doctors Increasingly Urge Americans to Create Living Wills

  • Clifford M. Cohen,
  •   Estate Planning, Wills
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doctors urge people to create willsDespite CDC guidelines, face mask requirements, and lockdowns, COVID-19 continues to spread aggressively in America. Doctors are seeing patients in all age groups suffer from horrible complications, and they are urging them to create living wills and other documents that will help them provide better care.


Living wills and powers of attorney for healthcare are critical documents to have in place before you become seriously ill. Both of these documents help you communicate your healthcare preferences when you cannot do so for yourself. If you’re concerned about your health, you can gain peace of mind by working with a Maryland and Washington, DC estate planning lawyer to help you create a valid living will and power of attorney.

Living Wills and Powers of Attorney for Healthcare 

COVID-19 is hurting people of all ages, regardless of whether they were healthy before contracting it. Several people who have recovered from COVID-19 continue to deal with complications; specifically, they suffer from lifelong lung damage after surviving the deadly virus. 


Dr. Sarah Norris is the head of palliative care at the Children’s Hospital of Montefiore in the Bronx, which is caring for adults with COVID-19. She states that “about one in four COVID-19 patients suffers from such severe breathing issues they cannot answer” her when she asks them who they want to speak for them if they are unable to speak for themselves. 


During times like these, it’s important to take all possible precautions for your well-being. 

The key differences between a living will — also known as an advance directive — and a power of attorney for healthcare are:

  1. A living will states your wishes for medical care. This document tells people what your choices are for end-of-life medical care and informs healthcare providers of procedures or medications you consent to or wish to avoid.
  2. A power of attorney names someone to carry out your wishes when you become incapacitated. In a power of attorney for healthcare, the designated person, known as your “agent,” is authorized to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated.


Are You Prepared for the Future?

According to an estate planning survey by, just 23% of American adults have a will, while just 6% have an advance healthcare directive. Even if you don’t think you have enough assets, estate planning is essential for planning for the future.


Getting your affairs in order can be a relatively straight-forward task, especially when you work with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer. Your first steps should be:

    1. Complete advance directive and power of attorney forms. A living will provides instructions for healthcare providers about the type of care you want or don’t want to receive, such as intubation and resuscitation. A healthcare power of attorney names someone you trust to make decisions for you if you become incapable of doing so. You can also choose to designate a durable power of attorney to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. 
    2. Seek legal counsel to help create these documents. Working with an estate planning lawyer like Clifford M. Cohen of Washington, DC and Maryland will put your mind at ease knowing that someone who has prepared estate planning documents for the past 35 years is watching out for your best interests.
    3. Gather witnesses in person or virtually. Maryland state law allows witnesses to participate in the signing of estate planning documents remotely to make the process safe for everyone involved.



  • Talk to your loved ones about your wishes for medical care. Talk to your loved ones about your wishes for medical care. Make your family aware of your wishes so that they know what to expect regarding your treatment in an emergency. 


Comprehensive Estate Planning in Maryland and Washington DC

At The Law Offices of Clifford M. Cohen, attorney Clifford Cohen provides comprehensive legal counsel for people planning for their future by documenting their wishes for the transfer of their assets, medical care, and more. Find out which estate planning documents will work best for you with a free consultation. Call (202) 895-2799 or complete our contact form