Living will workshop held for WKU students

Samantha Clark

WKU Student Legal Services partnered with the WKU paralegal studies program on Thursday and Saturday to show students why living wills and digital directives are important.

Kelsey Luttrell, legal assistant with SLS, helped put a workshop together. She emphasized the importance of having a living will and digital directive. Although these can be hard to discuss, she said, they are necessary.

“It’s not something you want to think about, but it happens, unfortunately,” Luttrell said.

A living will appoints a person to make medical decisions for others when they physically or mentally can’t make decisions. For some people, the appointed person could be a parent, but for others, the person making the final decisions could be a grandparent or sibling.

Ethan Bennett, a graduate student pursuing a degree in counseling, attended the workshop with his wife and 1-year-old daughter. He said he hadn’t thought to make a living will until SLS sent an email advertising the event. As a new dad, he decided he should look into it.

“For those who are looking to start having families, for sure they need to be looking into having a living will,” Bennett said.

Digital directives, also discussed at the workshop, are becoming more relevant with our changing technology. They allow an appointed person to access digital assets, such as pictures on Facebook or important documents in emails, that families might want.

SLS opened in January 2015 and provides a wide array of legal opportunities for students, faculty and staff. Any student with legal issues can be represented through legal services or be aided in finding a paralegal.

“Assistance with legal problems is an essential service for students because legal problems can jeopardize a student’s academic performance, development, and ultimately, the student’s retention at WKU,” the student legal services website stated.

The workshop consisted of students, faculty and staff meeting individually with a student legal services representative. Each pair discussed the living will and digital directives process, and then the representative assisted the client in assembling one.

“I know it’s tough to think about a will, and I know it’s tough to think about end-of-life decisions, but it’s a reality, and I think that this will workshop is crucial for students to make their wishes known,” Luttrell said.

SLS will continue to host events similar to this one to show students the legal services it offers. Landlord-tenant workshops are expected to occur in March. If students have suggestions for possible future workshops, they can contact SLS.