A living will is really a misnomer. What is commonly referred to as a living will is really an advanced health care directive. It is a document that you sign that establishes how you want to be treated when you reach the end of your life. If you have a legal incapacity and are unable to give to the doctors’ direction on how you want to be treated or you are in a permanent vegetative state, then the healthcare directive goes into effect. If you have executed a durable medical power of attorney, your medical power of attorney agent is restricted in his/her authority to make decisions based upon the directions given in your living will.
Generally, individuals will state in their living will that they do not want to be resuscitated, placed on medical devices that would only seek to prolong the moment of their death, or to be administered food and hydration intravenously if they are in a permanent coma.
A living will is really more for the living than the dying. It is sometimes more difficult for a medical power of attorney agent or your family to make that ultimate decision as to whether or not life support shall be removed. When it is very clear how you want to be cared for when you reach this stage of life, it gives great comfort to your friends and family knowing that they are not the ones making the decision but that you have made the decision while you were competent and have given the matter thoughtful consideration. Contact the attorneys to discuss your options.