A Living Will, also called a Health Care Directive or Advance Directive, is a legal document that states whether you would want life-sustaining treatment if you have a terminal condition.
This document is used only if:
- You have a terminal condition as certified by your physician, where life-sustaining treatment would only artificially prolong the process of dying or
- You are certified by two physicians to be in an irreversible coma or other permanent unconscious condition and there is no reasonable hope of recovery.
In either situation, it allows treatment to be withheld or withdrawn so that you may die naturally.
You may also direct whether you would want artificially provided food and water stopped under these circumstances. You can give further instructions regarding your care.
You and two witnesses must sign the Health Care Directive.
The following people SHOULD NOT serve as a witness:
- Anyone related to you by blood or marriage
- Anyone entitled to any part of your estate upon your death
- Your attending physician or an employee of your attending physician
- An employee or volunteer of a health care facility or long term care facility where you are a patient
- Any person who has a claim against any part of your estate
If you create this document and then later change your mind, you may cancel it by destroying the original and all copies, or by signing and dating a written cancellation.