Although I love my job, I want to admit that practicing law for 35 years has made me paranoid. I keep telling people I see the “1%” every day, and I get funny looks.
If one reads the potential side effects of any medicine, there is always a 1% risk of something horrible happening. If you listen to the potential risks of any surgery, even minor surgery, explained by the surgeon, there is always a 1% risk of something horrible happening.
Each day there is a tiny risk that we will get hit by a car, struck by lightening, or diagnosed with a terminal neurological disorder. I see this every day in my work. I call it the “1%”, even though often it is the “.001%”.
To the individual experiencing the 1%, it is devastating. And individuals who experience the 1% (or their families) almost always end up contacting an attorney because experiencing the 1% has profound legal consequences.
This leads me to Advanced Directives. Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to spell out your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time.
Based on my experience as an attorney, I tell my clients and friends there is a 90% probability that you are going to need an Advanced Directive.
We spend many hours planning a vacation, planning to buy a house, or planning to retire. Spending a few hours preparing an Advanced Directive is time well spent.
For a wonderful book that discusses this topic in an informative way, I recommend “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande.