Are Five Wishes Living Wills Legally Binding?

Five Wishes wills are legally binding in 42 states, although the will can be drafted in all 50 states, Aging with Dignity explains. This document is overseen by the American Bar Association's Commission on Law and Aging, explains Friends of Hospice. The directions for signing the document should be followed accordingly.

Some states require that the document be signed before a notary public and that certain documents be attached, explains Aging with Dignity. A copy of the Five Wishes will should be provided to the healthcare provider of the individual who signed the will for the patient's wishes to be honored when the time comes. The healthcare provider must follow the wishes as outlined in the will, explains Friends of Hospice.

While the Five Wishes living will is used in all 50 states, there are only 42 states in which the document meets the legal requirements of an advance directive, Aging with Dignity reports. In the remaining eight states, this document must be used alongside that state's legal advance directive form. Once those legally valid advance directives are established, they help to ensure that healthcare providers are making the treatment decisions the patient has outlined when that patient is no longer able to make the decisions on his own, explains Mayo Clinic.