Magazine article Newsweek

Capital Ideas

Magazine article Newsweek

Capital Ideas

Article excerpt

Byline: Jane Bryant Quinn

Here's a place you don't want to be: in the midst of a media and legal circus because your life is up for grabs. That's the fate of Terry Schiavo, the Florida woman living, for 14 years, in a vegetative state. Her husband, Michael, wants her feeding tube removed, to let her die; her parents don't. The courts sided with Michael, even after Gov. Jeb Bush ordered the tube retained. It isn't over yet.

Name someone to speak for you. It's not clear what Terry would decide, if she could say. That's the job of living wills and health-care powers of attorney. Wills tell everyone whether you'd want to live in Terry's condition. (Quit the tube? Or not?) Health-care proxies name an agent to speak for you when you can not. Lawyers typically prepare them when they do regular wills. You can find legal forms on the Web or write a directive yourself (take care to get two witnesses). …

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