Living will

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Related to Living will: living trust, Durable power of attorney

Living will

A document specifying the kind of medical care a person wants-or does not want-in the event of terminal illness or incapacity.

Advance Directive

A legal document expressing a person's medical wishes in the event of his/her mental or physical incapacity. An advance directive is made while the director is still competent, and comes into effect at incapacity. An advance directive may state whether or not the director wishes to be placed on life support or to receive a particular treatment. It may or may not assign another party, usually a family member, to make these decisions as they come up. It is important to note that in this situation, an advance directive is not a power of attorney and neither allows the other party access to the assignor's finances, nor obliges him/her to pay for any treatment. See also: Proxy directive.

Living will.

A living will is a legal document that describes the type of medical treatment you want -- or don't want -- if you are terminally ill or unable to communicate your wishes.

Like wills that provide instructions about your assets, living wills must be signed and have two or more witnesses to be valid.

You can use a healthcare proxy or durable power of attorney for healthcare to authorize someone to act as your agent to ensure your wishes are followed. Because there are still unresolved questions about the extent of your agent's authority, it may be wise to get legal advice in preparing the documents.

References in periodicals archive ?
For $5, state-specific living will forms are available from the legal counsel for the elderly at AARP.
An even more heretical possibility deserves to be explored--that living wills may address a process not sufficiently broken to justify efforts at repair and in any event not susceptible of repair through living wills.
Living wills must necessarily be vague, Krocheski said, because people cannot anticipate what medical situation will threaten them or what medical technology might be available to treat it.
Because more than a million Medicare patients die in hospitals each year, these findings suggest that the new living wills system could reduce total federal Medicare costs by about $4 billion, using 1995 figures, or roughly 2.
They're not likely to have living wills or other advance directives--fewer than 15 percent of Americans do.
Partly because living wills have come to have two purposes that are in tension.
As living wills are not an entirely new concept many groups welcome the Mental Capacity Bill as a means of placing these on a formal footing.
The longtime Santa Paula resident even decided to keep her family - particularly her children - out of the decisions when she made her living will protecting her right to die with dignity.
For Schiavo, "It's relatively easy to say that one lesson has to do with end-of-life directives, living wills, durable powers of attorney for health care - they go by many names, and each one means something a bit different.
For the living will to be totally legal, at the time you sign it you must:
In fact, the importance of having a living will became the main take-home message of this conflict.