Archive for the Living Wills Category

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will is a legal document which directs your doctor to discontinue life-sustaining procedures if you are in a terminal condition or a permanently vegetative state.  A Living Will is also known as an Advance Medical Directive.

You have the right to refuse medical treatment.  However, you cannot refuse medical treatment if you are unconscious or otherwise mentally incapacitated.  So in a Living Will you are directing your doctor in advance to honor your refusal of treatment.

The Living Will comes into effect only after you become unconscious or mentally incapacitated.  If you are conscious and can voice your opinion, the Living Will is not used.

If you ever are in a terminal condition or a permanently vegetative state, your family may be asked about withholding treatment. Having a Living Will expressing your wishes will make it much easier on your family to have this discussion.