A living will also called as health care declaration is a written document in which the endorser explicit his or her instructions about medical treatment specifically the treatment that may save or perpetuate his or her life by unusual measures, to be administered if the signer becomes terminally ill or mentally incompetent.
The living will is also called as advance directive in which the author states whether his/her life should be lengthened by extraordinary measures in the event of medical illness. A living will should not be clouded with living trust which an agreement is created during a person’s lifetime for transfer of assets without going through probate which is expensive and time taking as well.
Essential Things to Know about Making A living Will
Before making a living will at least two medical practitioners (your personal doctor and another doctor) must certify that:
- You are not in the state to make any medical decisions.
- You are in a condition of permanent unconsciousness or are terminally ill. This means if you had a heart attack but does not have any other terminal illness or permanent unconsciousness then living will won’t take any effect.
- Depending on the state of the illness other requirements may also apply.
- In situation where you are impaired and cannot speak for yourself a healthcare power of attorney allows you to hire a trust worthy person of your choice. He/she will serve as a health care agent who will be authorized to make medical decisions for you in case you are incapacitated.
- Before medical power of attorney is effective your doctor must conclude that you cannot speak for yourself.
According to Law Living Will Should Be:
- In writing
- Signed and dated
- Signed by you and surrogate decision maker
- And Signed in the presence of two or more persons who are of the age of 18 or above.
It is not mandatory to get your living will made by a lawyer. Free living will forms can be found at:
- At Local hospitals
- At regular medical practitioner
You can put any wishes in your health care declaration document. You can guide about what type of care you would like to have and what should be avoided.
Once you have signed your living will. Consider giving a copy of it to your doctor and your hospital. Consider giving a copy of it to your family members and to your health care proxy as well.
Tips on Writing a Living Will
- You should know your options.
- Chose a health care proxy.
- Consult your advisor.
- Talk to your loved ones and make sure they know your intentions.
- Keep your living will current.
- Be specific about medical guidelines and treatments.
- You should be well familiar with all life sustaining treatments.
- Make several copies of your living will and keep the original documents safe.
- Be sure that your doctor has copy of your living will.
- You should be well familiar with your state’s laws and regulations.