People who want to ensure that their health-care wishes are followed shouldn't just write them down, a lawyer says. They should put them on videotape.
Living wills, in which a person fills out a document stating exactly what medical treatment he wants - or doesn't want - if he is unable to communicate with doctors, have been around for more than 20 years.But in the electronic age, lawyer Joseph D. Shein said, it's time for people to put their wishes in their own words as well as on paper.
"I've been involved in a number of will contests," he said. "We hear arguments all the time like, `Dad never really meant for you to have this.' If there were one videotape in cases like that, it would settle them."
Shein started videotaping wills for clients about six weeks ago and said he's done more than 50. Most of his clients are in good health, although several are AIDS patients and one is diabetic, he said.
Shein said many of those whose wills he has recorded told him they would want extraordinary medical care only if their insurance would pay for it.
"They know that a long hospitalization can deplete an estate in six months," he said.
Shein said attorneys often videotape regular wills to prove the individual was mentally competent at the time. He said it's only natural the same should be done with living wills.