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Ethics: Living Wills: To My Family, My Physician, My LawyerÓ

Death is as much a reality as birth, growth and aging -- it is the one certainty of life. In anticipation of decisions that may have to be made about my own dying and as an expression of my right to r

, being of sound mind, make this statement of my wishes and instructions concerning my treatment.

Claire Angel, a Manhattan pianist, is active and healthy. Yet recently she had her lawyer draw up a living will, a signed, dated and witnessed document that allows people to state in advance their wishes regarding the use of life- sustaining procedures. Why such concern? "My life experience has prepared me to consider my own mortality," says Angel, 58, whose husband and mother are in nursing homes. "I would like to protect my children from having to make a difficult decision on my behalf."

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