How Do You Make a Living Will?


Quick Answer

Create a living will, also known as an advance health care directive or health care proxy, by completing a form instructing a designated person as your representative, notes the American Bar Association. Your representative is then authorized to make medical decisions for you in case of incapacity.

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How Do You Make a Living Will?
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Full Answer

In addition to appointing a trusted person to make decisions for you, the durable power of attorney portion of the instrument, you can address your desired level of medical treatment. According to the American Bar Association, among other things, you can determine in advance whether to receive extraordinary life-prolonging care, choose a level of pain relief or decide to undergo blood transfusions or dialysis. The living will can also cover your wishes to donate organs and tissue and receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

You must determine when your representative's ability to act on your behalf takes effect, and one or more witnesses must sign the document. Each state has its own requirements for witnessing or notarization. The living will is a document that speaks for you in case you are no longer capable of doing so due to terminal illness. Since not all potential situations can be covered, the American Bar Association suggests discussing your wishes not only with your agent but also with your physician. Review your living will periodically to ensure it still accurately reflects your intentions.

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