After a court battle a judge agreed with the doctors and declared McMath brain dead. Her mother continued to believe otherwise and quickly arranged for her daughter to be transferred to New Jersey as that state has a religious exemption that allows families to keep brain dead people on life support for religious reasons.

For two years McMath has continued to “live” in New Jersey on life support and her family insists that she shows signs of not being brain dead, but California has refused to remove the designation. Now, her mother has filed a lawsuit in federal court demanding that California be forced to do so.

Courthouse News Service reported this story in “Family Wants Brain-Dead Girl Declared Alive.”

What this case highlights is the importance of advanced health care directives, especially living wills. The one person who does not have a say right now regarding whether she remains on life support is McMath. She is a minor so her parents’ wishes would take precedence over hers in any case.

Adults can avoid this situation by visiting an estate planning attorney and making a living will part of an estate plan.

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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