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Sample Living Will
Living wills and advance directives for medical decisions
A Living Will, also known as a Health Care Directive or Advance Directive, is a legal document within Estate Planning. In it, an individual outlines their preferences for end-of-life medical care in case they are unable to communicate. It's important to note that, despite sharing similar names, a Living Will differs from a Last Will and Testament. A Living Will ceases to have effect after one's death, whereas a Last Will and Testament becomes effective only upon an individual's demise.
Can I write my own Living Will?
Every state in the United States has laws pertaining to estate planning, with some specifically addressing living wills. A living will empowers you to document your preferences for medical decisions and care if you are unable to communicate or make decisions independently. Typically applicable in scenarios involving terminal conditions, permanent unconsciousness, persistent vegetative states, or other incurable conditions, a living will serves as a vital tool for ensuring your healthcare wishes are known and respected.
What Is a Living Will?
Frequently mistaken for a last will and testament, a living will and a last will are distinct components of an estate plan.
A living will articulates your preferences for medical treatment in situations where you cannot express or communicate your wishes. On the other hand, a last will and testament outlines your desires for the distribution of your property after your demise and provides the opportunity to nominate a guardian for your minor children, if applicable. Despite their shared presence in estate planning, it's crucial to recognize that these are separate legal documents serving different purposes.
What is the main disadvantage of a Living Will?
Using a living will comes with three primary drawbacks: limited scope, dependence on physician compliance, and the possibility of not always being provided to healthcare providers.
[Your Full Name]
[City, State, ZIP Code]
I, [Your Full Name], of [Your Address], being of sound mind, hereby declare this document as my Living Will, to be followed in the event that I am unable to make or communicate my medical decisions.
In the event I am unable to make medical decisions for myself, I appoint [Name of Healthcare Agent] as my healthcare agent. This individual is authorized to make decisions on my behalf, taking into consideration my values and preferences outlined in this Living Will.
Medical Treatment Preferences:
If I am facing a terminal condition, irreversible coma, persistent vegetative state, or any other incurable medical condition, I hereby express my medical treatment preferences as follows:
I do want life-sustaining treatments, including but not limited to artificial respiration, tube feeding, and other medical interventions, to prolong my life.
I do not want life-sustaining treatments if my condition is deemed irreversible.
I wish to receive medication and treatments to alleviate pain and provide comfort even if it may hasten my death.
I prioritize life extension over pain management.
In the event of my death, I express my desire to [choose one]:
Donate any needed organs or tissues.
Not donate any organs or tissues.
Funeral and Burial Preferences:
I have made separate arrangements for my funeral and burial, details of which are documented [location of the document].
I reserve the right to revoke or amend this Living Will at any time, and I understand that doing so requires a signed and dated document.
I declare that I am signing this Living Will in the presence of the following witnesses, who are not beneficiaries of my estate and have no conflict of interest:
[Witness 1 Name]
[Witness 2 Name]
Signed this [day] of [month, year].
[Your Printed Name]
Note: This is a generic sample. Consult with legal professionals to tailor it to your specific jurisdiction and personal circumstances.