Nobody wants to contemplate a disaster befalling them. To take it further, no one wants to plan for it, because it feels morbid and unnatural. However, if you become terminally incapacitated due to illness or injury, consider this: who is going to make medical decisions for you? Also, did you communicate your medical desires with that person? If not, you may be placing an incredible burden on a loved one. This burden could be averted with a living will.
What is a Living Will?
A living will is a legally recognized document which provides specific instructions to the doctors if you fall victim to a terminal medical condition. Also referred to as an advance directive, this document may contain a declaration instructing your doctor “to withhold or withdraw death delaying procedures in the event of a terminal condition.” A terminal condition is defined as an “incurable and irreversible condition which is such that death is imminent and the application of death delaying procedures serves only to prolong the dying process.”
The legislature has stated that the purpose behind a living will is “that persons have the fundamental right to control the decisions relating to the rendering of their own medical care, including the decision to have death delaying procedures withheld or withdrawn in instances of a terminal condition.” So even if your loved ones disagree with this decision, your living will mandates your doctor to follow your guidance. However, it is worth noting that a medical power of attorney trumps a living will if there is a conflict in their terms.
How is a Living Will Created?
There are several legal requirements for a living will to be recognized under the law. Among these are:
- You must be at least eighteen years old at the time of the declaration;
- The declaration must be in writing;
- The document must be signed and witnessed by two people; and
- It is your responsibility as the patient to provide a copy of the advance directive to your personal physician. Your doctor is in the best position to access and utilize this information should you become terminally ill.
If you feel strongly that you do not want your life prolonged in the event of a terminal condition, you need to create a living will. The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas can help you get it right. Our legal team cares about your wishes and will fight to protect your right to make these important medical decisions. Call our office for a consultation at phone number 847-392-5893. You can also visit our website to set up an appointment.