I worked a few years as in admitting both in the ED (emergency department) and main (main admitting in the hospital). I had to ask every single patient if they had a living will or advance directive, but yet I never had one myself. Will and I finally sat down and got ours done at the legal office on base today. You don't necessarily need a lawyer to fill one out. You can get general documents from your doctor or local hospital. You just need to have it witnessed and notarized. Since we had the legal resources available to us, we took advantage.
Now I know no one likes talking about death and dying. I sure don't. But as painful and awkward as it is, it's good to think about it. Just because you're not a fan of organ donation or life support, doesn't mean your loved ones feel the same. And vice versa of course.
If you're not able to make decisions for yourself (ex. you're intubated, sedated, unconscious, not of sound mind, etc), you can appoint someone as your healthcare representative. This is not the same as a general power of attorney. This is a specific permission for healthcare decisions only. It's also known as a durable power of attorney.
What about if you're on your deathbed? What if you're in a coma? What if you have a life threatening illness? What do you think about life support and tube feeding? If you feel one way or the other, you should definitely have a living will. For instance, I don't want life support if it won't help a recovery. If I'm going to die either way and life support is going to prolong that decline...no thank you. But that's just my choice. Yours could be entirely different. What if you filled out an advance directive and you chose me as your representative? I could decide to pull the plug and you wanted to be plugged in! So fill one out!
Attached to our advance directive and living will was a disposition of remains. It basically covered organ donation and any funeral requests (like burial or cremation). Will was asked if he wanted military honors at his funeral or not.
Maybe it's my job training, but I'm big into getting people to fill this stuff out. You just never know when these decisions could be an issue.
If you're military, you can fill out a worksheet online and bring the worksheet number to the legal office to be printed out. Take advantage! They hook you up with everything.