To complete a living will, a person needs to determine the types of care and life-sustaining measures he wishes to authorize if he loses the capacity to make such decisions, according to Caring Connections. Living wills must be completed in compliance with state laws, but do not require a lawyer.
Prior to completing a living will, Mayo Clinic advises a review of life-sustaining medical treatments, such as mechanical ventilation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and feeding tubes, so that decisions are well-informed. Consideration should be given to options for pain management at the end of life, with decisions made in the context of values which have driven the person's life. These can include the need for independence or intellectual exchange. Valuable resources for guidance in the decision-making process include the American Bar Association, the Conversation Project and the Center for Practical Bioethics, notes Mayo Clinic.
Living wills should be carefully considered and reviewed to ensure they accurately reflect the person's preferences and comply with state requirements, explains Mayo Clinic. The papers are then signed in front of required witnesses before becoming legal. Once fully executed, wills should be shared with family members and physician, then reviewed periodically. They may be changed, but this usually requires completion of a new document.