Can family members appeal a Five Wishes living will?


Quick Answer

Family members cannot appeal or override living wills where states have passed laws to legally validate their use, reports MedicineNet. The Five Wishes living will is recognized as a legally valid advance directive in 42 states, explains Aging With Dignity.

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Full Answer

By 1992, all 50 states and the District of Columbia passed legislation validating some form of advance directive such as living wills and health care proxies, according to MedicineNet. In 1991, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Patient Self-Determination Act, which validated state laws concerning advance directives. In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of an individual to refuse life-sustaining treatment if so specified in an advance directive. Since the Supreme Court decision, determining future medical treatment in an advance directive was recognized as a Constitutional right.

Although the Five Wishes living will is used in all 50 states, it only meets the legal requirements of an advance directive in 42 states, notes Aging With Dignity. In the remaining eight states, it must be used along with the state's valid legal advance directive form. Once legally valid advance directives are in place, they guide health care providers in treatment decisions when patients are no longer able to make the decisions themselves, according to Mayo Clinic.

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