Live Long And Procrastinate

living will graphic CBS/AP

Like millions of Americans, during the Terri Schiavo tragedy, I saw how important it was for my wife and me to make certain arrangements in writing. I didn't want the government or strangers making these very personal decisions for us. And like millions of Americans, from the moment I made up my mind to do something about it, I did absolutely nothing. Until now.

Finally, last week, I got a Living Will/Durable Power of Attorney Form. It's not unusual to delay doing things that deal with the unpleasantness of death. We all know that we should have wills, but how many of us put off making one out? Similarly, we might joke about our future funerals. Maybe we don't want to be cremated because smoke always makes us sneeze. We kid about silly things we might want on our tombstone like, "Your shoe's untied," or "You Lose. It's My Turn To Pick Up The Check." But we don't want to talk seriously about "the arrangements." So, it's no surprise that I kept putting off thinking about and making some serious medical decisions.

One of the main purposes of the form is to designate the person you want to make life-and-death decisions for you if you're incapable of doing so. See? It's not exactly a fun form to fill out. The document states that your "agent" will be the person making the big decisions for you. This brought me to an abrupt halt. My show business experience with agents has taught me that they might not be the ideal people to decide these things. If a client isn't "hot," an agent treats him as if he were dead, and if he is hot, a good agent will still try to get him a job long after he's dead and buried.

But then I saw that "agent" was just the legal term for proxy or the person that you want to make these decisions. Obviously, this is a huge responsibility that you're giving someone. It's the ultimate in trust — even more so than letting them drive your new car.
  • Lloyd Vries

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