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Q.What is a Living Will?

A.Although the term Living Will connotes that it is a Will, in reality, a living will is more like a declaration. A Living Will is a legal document in which any adult of sound mind can state whether or not, and to what extent if any, she or he would like life saving treatment if they become terminally ill. A Living Will only goes into effect (becomes operative) if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious without detectable brain activity. A Living Will, depending on your state law, typically permits an adult to decide in advance whether or not they wish to be given life-sustaining treatments, and if so, to what extent (e.g. tube feeding, heart-lung machines, ventilators, etc..) that will sustain and possibly extend your life, but which will not by themselves cure your condition.

Again, a Living Will applies only in situations where you are terminally ill and the decision to use life-prolonging treatments will only prolong your life (or suffering) depending on how you view it. In all states the determination as to whether or not you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious is determined by medical professionals, usually your attending physician and at least one other medical doctor who has examined you and/or reviewed your medical situation.

Copyright 1999-2019 Melissa C. Marsh. All Rights Reserved. All Information on this website is subject to a Disclaimer and Use Agreement. This information is provided as general information only and should not be construed as legal advice. We advise you to seek the advice of competent legal counsel to address your own specific questions, facts and circumstances.