A living will speaks when you can't

By Zaneta Lowe

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – Remember the story of Terri Schiavo. The decision of whether or not to keep her alive made national headlines and continues to raise questions even today.

When it comes to your financial and health care decisions, who will be in charge when you can't make them?

Seventy-six-year-old Gladys Green. a Columbus resident, fell and bumped her head – leading to several questions she was not able to make immediately at the hospital.

Luckily, she had her living will stashed in the glove compartment and it did the talking for her.

This topic came up at St. Francis Primetime Seniors Seminar and a conversation experts say all seniors should be having.

Experts say a living will, sometimes called an advanced directive, outlines for health care providers and family members what you want in cases where you cannot speak for yourself.

Georgia is one of 40 states that uses a document called Five Wishes. It's a living will, that gets very specific, even down to whether you want pictures of family members near your hospital bed.

Once you fill it out, experts say keep a copy in your vehicle and give one to the person you put in charge.  And while this topic is certainly relevant for older folks," If you're 18 and above, you need it because we don't know life, what card life will deal us," said Veronica Brown of United Health Care.

For information on Georgia's Five Wishes document, click here or call 1-888-594-7437. Click here to view a sample of the Five Wishes document.

Alabama residents can get information about living wills by checking out: http://www.putitinwriting.org/putitinwriting_app/index.jsp

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