Let’s talk: who would you trust to decide whether you live or die?

To make the most of our lives today, we sometimes need to imagine a less pleasant future.

The knowledge that we won’t be around forever can motivate us to be nicer people. Imagining what we leave behind can encourage us to write a will. But what if you found yourself in a more complicated situation: to be stuck in between life or death?

Today on The Tough Stuff, we’re asking our community to consider one of the scariest futures imaginable: one in which we can’t properly speak for ourselves.

If you found yourself in a coma, or unable to communicate to your full ability, who would you trust to decide on your future?

Many of us would accept that our partners, siblings or children could make an informed choice for us, and act with our best interests at heart.

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However, it’s rarely that simple; we find that many families struggle to make a decision and family members often have very different views. While they may ultimately make a choice, they may never be certain it’s actually the right one, unless they hear it from you first.

Even if you have informally made your instructions clear, would they be able to comfortably make a call on your behalf?

Dr. Charlie Corke, founder of MyValues, says this uncertainty is a natural part of being human. “Most of us have live with lots of uncertainty and ambiguity – not just about this”.

Our principles and beliefs can shift over time, changing with the circumstances, and your loved ones may feel obligated to make that call for you. Only a small, core set of values – those closest to our hearts – are likely to remain fixed over time.

“Most of us have some things which we hold to quite firmly, where we won’t compromise”, says Dr. Corke. “These are the things that tend to drive us and which explain the sort of person that we are. This fixed bit is important for families to understand”.

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Only by identifying these core values can we comfortably leave a set of instructions our loved ones can follow. Thankfully, this important step has just gotten easier.

MyValues is an online service anyone can freely join. In a few simple steps, you can record your wishes. Should the worst happen, your doctor or loved ones will be able to access these details, lifting the burden of uncertainty.

Do you know who you would trust in this situation? Have you spoken with them about your values? And if not: what is holding you back?

This Let’s Talk discussion is sponsored by MyValues and written by the Starts at 60 editorial team. For more information about this free, invaluable online service, visit the MyValues website.