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 ?
The foregoing discussion highlights several of the key issues and concerns raised by living will requirements.
A person generally makes a living will with the expectation that the preferences for medical treatment expressed therein will be carried out and respected at the time when the living will takes effect.
What ties together hospice care, the Hemlock Society, assisted suicide, and living wills is the quest for personal autonomy.
If history is any guide, patients with living wills will remain in the minority.
Many people who simply do not want what they see as a lot of medical technology prolonging the last few hours or days of their lives when they are terminally ill sign living wills.
Experts at Button and Co said making living wills legally binding would clarify the law and safeguards would almost certainly be introduced to allay fears of euthanasia.
He has the backing of his GP regarding his own living will, and advises anyone considering making one to alert family and all the health professionals involved in their care.
There are many reasons that people are reluctant to sign a living will.
In theory, a good living will should benefit the firm by lowering its cost of funding.
Barton notes that a living will also frees your loved ones from the pressure of having to make critical medical care decisions for you while they are under stress or in emotional turmoil.
There is the person (patient) completing the living will to document their treatment wishes.