There is a lot of confusion about living wills and whether or not you require an attorney to draft and sign a living will. The most basic answer of whether or not you need a lawyer to draft your living will is no, you do not.
You do not need to have a lawyer oversee the documentation of your living will however; you can hire a lawyer to help you draft the living will. Living wills are not required to be witnessed in order to be valid. You also do not need to have your signature notarized or witnessed in order for the living will to be valid in some states. However, a living will document is a very important one and it is always a good idea to have your signature notarized on any important documents, or to have them drawn up by an attorney.
It is always advisable to have a lawyer draft any important document that you need, such as a living will. A living will is very important and has ramifications to your end of life care. It’s best to discuss your wishes with other people, primarily your family and friends, your physician, your clergy or priest and your lawyer. By having many people know what your end of life wishes are, that are stated in your living will, they are more likely to feel comfortable with the decisions you have made and put in writing for them to follow, should something happen to you.
If you already had a living will before new legislation moved in, lowering the requirements for living wills to be valid, check with your lawyer if your current living will is still valid or if it needs to be redone. A few years ago, living wills were required to be witnessed and notarized and drawn up by a lawyer, however, those rules have relaxed quite a bit.
There are web pages online that offer templates for a living will that you can simply fill out and print off of your computer. However, while it is that simple to draft a living will, you should give it some serious thought and discussions with the people who are close to you. There are three basic life support choices that you have with a living will:
Have the doctors to everything that they can to keep you alive.
Only life-sustaining measurements that you allow are to have an artificial feeding tube for nutrition and hydration.
No life sustaining treatment, including nutrition and hydration.
However, regardless of which of the three options listed above that you choose, you will be provided with pain medication to keep you comfortable.
If you happen to be pregnant when you become incapacitated, you will be kept alive using all means necessary, regardless of what your living will states, until the birth of the baby, at which point, your living will would kick in and become activated with your choices.