Why does Caring Advocates offer only an “Living Will Planning Package”?

Our goal is for everyone to honor your wishes promptly, privately, and without conflict. To attain this goal, they must appreciate that your Advance Care Planning efforts were DILIGENT. That is why we ask you to carefully consider each condition twice before you make a judgment or decision—when you were COMPETENT (had capacity to make informed decisions), and to prove your decisions were CONSISTENT over time (by repeating the sorting of cards process after a month or so).

Making diligent decisions by completing a Natural Dying—Living Will is necessary, but may not be sufficient. You also need the two extra steps this website describes: the “Ironclad Strategy” and the MyLastWishes.org Program. Then, clinicians and others can learn your wishes when it is necessary to make critical treatment decisions. Not ONE STEP, but THREE.

Why does Caring Advocates offer only a Living Will Planning Package? Life is complicated; dying is the last chapter of our life; dying is also complicated. Goals for complicated matters do NOT lend themselves to simple solutions.

The stakes are high: Caring Advocates Living Will Planning Package strives…

  • To prevent unnecessary and tragic premature dying;
  • To avoid families being torn apart by conflicts even though each person had only the best intention to fulfill their version of what the patient wanted;
  • To prevent criminal prosecution and prolonged guilt of loving “mercy killers;” and most of all,
  • To provide a way for patients to avoid prolonged dying with increased pain and suffering by being forced to continue treatment that no longer can provide them benefit.

Why does Caring Advocates not sample out their Living Will? The answer is similar to why Caring Advocates does not provide a boiler-plate form that can simply be completed by checking appropriate boxes. Members of Caring Advocates are strongly advised to review the “decision aid” Advance Care Planning tool—a deck of illustrated cards—twice. The reason is not just to be diligent. You must review all the conditions to decide if you want to consider one condition along with others for Natural Dying.

To convince your future physician (whom you may not currently know) and concerned others to comply with your wishes, this Natural Dying—Living Will and all your other forms and videos must be in front of them when they need to make treatment decisions… promptly and privately (without conflict).  

Of course, Living Wills are available from the internet and elsewhere for $5, for $1, or free, and most are fast and easy to complete. But when you select an Living Will Planning Package to control how long and how much you will suffer before you die, ask these critical questions:

  • Will it be effective if I have end-of-life unbearable pain and suffering?
  • Will it be effective if I reach the advanced stage of dementia?
  • Will it prevent conflicts among my family members or between my family and health care professionals?
  • Is it safe so my physician will not misinterpret my wishes and let me die when I still want to live?

If the answers to these questions are important to you, consider the Caring Advocates Living Will Planning Package described below. While the basic cost is $295, please keep these points in mind:

  • We offer a discount for two people from the same household (described below).
  • The total cost will be less if you record some interviews with your own physician or proxy/agent.
  • Caring Advocates is a mission oriented, non-profit organization and we will try to adjust the cost of our services to accommodate those whose funds are limited; however we depend on (tax-deductible) donations to accomplish this goal.

Caring Advocates Living Will Planning Package components:

  1. A deck of My Way Cards or Natural Dying Living Will Cards (jumbo size, glossy card stock). Instructions are included in the cards and you can watch free instructional videos. You will receive both an “initial” and a “FINAL” Natural Dying—Living Will. The latter will be sent to you by USPS after it is printed on heavy stock yellow paper.
  2. A complete set of Natural Dying Forms to put in place, your personal “Plan Now, Die Later—Ironclad Strategy” along with step-by-step written instructions.
  3. Two books: Peaceful Transitions: Stories of Success and Compassion; Plan Now, Die Later—Ironclad Strategy that helps motivate Advance Care Planning and that explains the entire process in detail (for those who want to know), and The BEST WAY to Say Goodbye: A Legal Peaceful Choice at the End of Life that gives the clinical, legal, ethical, religious, and political background.
  4. One-year membership in the national registry, MyLastWishes.org Program
    1. MyW Wallet Card with your unique 2-dimensional barcode (and a MyW pouch)
    2. MyW Stickers to place on license and other forms
  5. One half-hour of telephone staff support to answer questions.
    Optional: Caring Advocates can help input your data to complete your forms and can upload your forms and your videos to the MyLastWishes.org Program registry as well as provide additional telephone support.
    (The cost is $15 per half-hour.)
  6. Optional (but highly recommended-unless you complete a video with your own physician):
    A half-hour session with Dr. Terman (or a Caring Advocates Certified Planning Professional) to record a video that includes these three parts:
    1. Your specific instructions  to emergency medical personnel and physicians;
    2. Your statement about WHAT treatments you DO or do NOT want and explain WHY;
    3. The professional records a clinical opinion regarding your capacity (competence) to give your informed consent for Natural Dying and for Palliative Sedation to Unconsciousness (the most aggressive method to reduce pain).
    • Notes: Together, Part A and Part C usually takes a half-hour.
      You can record Part B with your proxy/agent if you are well. We strongly recommend being interviewed by a clinician if you suffer from any disease that affects your memory or your thinking or are taking medications that may affect your memory or thinking or judgment.
  7. Optional for one more person: For $95, an additional Living Will, a set of Natural Dying Forms, and an extra half-hour of staff time. (Membership in MyLastWishes.org Program is additional.)
  8. Optional: A DNR Medallion or a Natural Dying Medallion that you can wear, that emergency medical personnel are trained to honor.

Other Options:

Caring Advocates can edit your recordings and create a DVD ($25 per half-hour).

DNR/Natural Dying Medallions you can wear: $70.

You can extend your one-year membership in MyLastWishes.org Program to five years for $95 and make it lifetime for $195.

Workshops/Groups Living Will Packages

If you would like a Workshop Presentation and/or Speaking Engagement by Stanley A. Terman, PhD, MD - please contact us.