What is a Living Will?
Just for the sake of being clear, imagine yourself being in an accident and ended up in a coma. Your doctors informed your next of kin that your current situation is less likely to improve for some time. Your family would debate about your situation and would be in a dilemma whether to continue life sustaining treatment. If you have a living will, your specific wishes on these life sustaining treatments will be followed by your doctors as long as everything is legal is legal, of course.
The legality of the document will depend on the mental state of the person during the time he/she signed the papers. He/she needs to be in a sound mind and knows the every bit of consequence the document will have. The document also needs to be quite specific. It needs to cite the kinds of requested future treatments. And most importantly, a living will is voluntary. If proven that the person signed the document under duress, the legality of the living will is no longer valid.
As part of this requirement, it is imperative that your witnesses in the document are by no means related by blood, marriage, adoption or have any claims to inheritance to whatever properties you will leave behind. Even your physicians, any employee of your hospital or health facility and your attorneys for health care cannot be your witnesses. The document can be revoked anytime, however, whether you’re mentally capable or competent, does not matter. But remember that once you signed the document, it is valid until you die.
The contents of the will can be as detailed as to avoid any form of antibiotics. But at the same time it can still be quite broad like do all life sustaining treatments available during that time. This one, however, would still be based on the assessments of your medical team.
What is a living will? It is an option. It is something that you can think about today in order to make it easier for your love ones to decide in case situations called for it. Just be certain that you tell someone that you have this legal document lying around. Your health care proxy should be informed for the document is no good if no one knows about it.
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