Living Will

A living will is a legal document that states the type of medical treatment a person would like in the event they are unable to communicate or are unable to make decisions for themselves.

Living wills provide guidance to healthcare professionals and family members about the types of interventions a person may or may not want under various medical circumstances.

To achieve this, the document also specifies a person to be in charge of these decisions, known as a Healthcare Proxy, also known as Healthcare Power of Attorney or Medical Power of Attorney.

Living wills are part of a person's Advance Directive; these are legal documents that offer a broader range of medical preferences, such as pain management, hospice care, organ donation, Do Not Resuscitate Orders (DNR), Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST), and Durable Power of Attorney.

Living wills are an important part of the Estate Planning process because they can ensure that the person's preferences are known and followed. They are legally binding documents and must be executed in accordance with state laws; as such, an Estate Attorney is typically hired to help draft them.

Key components of a living will typically include:

Life-Sustaining Treatments: The document may specify whether the individual wishes to receive or refuse certain life-sustaining treatments, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), mechanical ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration (tube feeding), and dialysis.

End-of-Life Care: Living wills often address end-of-life care decisions, including the use of pain management, Palliative Care and Hospice care choices.

Organ Donation: Individuals may express their willingness to donate organs and tissues for transplantation or medical research in their living will.

Signature and Witness Requirements: To ensure its legal validity, the living will must typically be signed by the individual in the presence of witnesses or Notarized, depending on the requirements of the jurisdiction.