Attorneys offer free living wills

By William Thompson: Quay County Sun

Local attorneys are banding together Monday to provide free living will or “advanced health care directive” assistance to Quay County residents.

Attorney Dean Border said the recent Terri Schiavo right-to-die controversy has put health care directives in the national spotlight.

“This has been a hot topic in the national news,” Border said. “To avoid having to go through what the Schiavo family went through, people need to put into writing their wishes.”

Quay County Bar Association President Nancy English said five attorneys will be available to answer questions and help people fill out a standardized form that will let doctors know exactly what a patient wants doctors to do when that patient is clinging to life.

“The form is state bar association approved,” English said. “It’s only three or four pages long. This is something we wanted to do as part of National Law Day May 1.”

Border said the completed form should hold up in court if it were ever challenged.

“The state statutes provide the basis for the form. The form allows for extraordinary means to be used to keep one alive, or for there to be no means used to keep one alive,” Border said. “We’re providing assistance for free, and we will notarize the form. Most attorneys charge a $50 to $60 fee to prepare this form.”

Border cautions that a living will is just as important for those in their twenties or thirties as well as the elderly.
Younger people should remember that they could potentially be in a vegetative state for 20 to 30 years or more.

Border said it should take only about ten or 15 minutes to complete the form.

“Once the form is completed the person can file it with the county clerk or just keep it in a safe deposit box or fireproof safe.”

Free living wills workshops
Two living will workshops will be offered by the Bar Association on May 2:
• 4 p.m. at Pioneer Senior Citizen Center ,523 S. Third St.
• 5:15 p.m. at Mesalands Community College Room A215, 911 S. 10th St.