The validity and use of living wills in South Africa is contentious, but they may still play a valuable role speaking for you when you are no longer able to. Many people may be of the view that a general power of attorney will suffice if they are mentally incapacitated or in a coma following an accident, says David Knott, a fiduciary expert from Private Client Trust, a division of Private Client Holdings. "Unfortunately, a power of attorney becomes invalid the moment the grantor of that power of attorney cannot exercise his judgment," Knott says. "A living will spares your family the anguish of making life-support decisions without your input and allows you to have the last say - ensuring that your doctor understands your end-of-life wishes and treats you accordingly. "Many people would rather die than live additional years on life-support that will rack up enormous medical bills, which their family will have to pay." A living will could also prevent arguments between family members...

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