What is a Living Will

A Living Will is a legal document that allows you to instruct healthcare providers regarding the use or non-use of certain life-prolonging medical procedures in the event that you become terminally ill or permanently unconscious and unable to communicate your own wishes.


The life-prolonging medical procedures in question are sometimes referred to as ‘heroic measures’ and are generally aimed at keeping the patient alive rather than fixing the underlying problem (which is often virtually untreatable, like multiple organ failures or severe brain damage). As a general rule, Living Wills only come into effect if you’re no longer able to make your own healthcare decisions. For example, if you suffer serious brain damage in an accident or suffer an incapacitating stroke, you may be permanently unconscious and unable to communicate your wishes to your doctor. In this case, a Living Will lets your doctor know your wishes concerning the receipt or non-receipt of certain medical procedures. It also allows you to designate a person who can either enforce or revoke the decisions made in your Living Will.


Living Wills are a fundamental part of estate planning. Every good estate plan should include a Living Will. Living Wills give you a degree of control over your own medical care.


For more information on Living Wills, read some of the other Living Will articles on this website.



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Living Wills

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This book introduces you to Living Wills, the medical procedures they cover, what you need to consider when making them and more. It also contains all the state specific forms you need to make your own Living Will.


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Related Articles


Living Will Planning for Incapacity – Advance Healthcare Directives


Living Will How Living Wills Work


Living Will Who Can Create a Living Will?


Living Will Do I Need a Lawyer to Make a Living Will?


Living Will Why Should I Make a Living Will?


Living Will What Happens if I Don’t Make a Living Will?




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