A Living Will is a document in which you give directions regarding life sustaining treatment should you become unable to communicate your wishes. A Living Will is also called an Advance Directive.
As long as you are mentally competent, you are able to be consulted about desired treatment. When you have lost the ability to communicate, however, the situation is different and a Living Will is able to direct someone you appointed as your Health Care Power of Attorney to follow your end of life instructions. This document may state specific directives as to the course of treatment you want should you be in a terminal condition or an irreversible coma, as well as treatment you specifically forbid. You should realize that if you did not express your wishes, treatment to maintain your life will be provided by whatever means available once you no longer have the capacity to express your desires, even if family members object. It is imperative that you put your end of life decisions in writing while you are able to do so.
Contributed by MH Arrowhead, Scottsdale and Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney anad Partner, David T. Eastman.
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This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.