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Living Will FAQ

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What is a living will?A living will is a document that declares your choices for end of life care, should you become terminally ill or incapacitated and unable to speak for yourself. 

 When does a living will come into effect?

A living will comes into effect when two doctors certify that you have an incurable illness and are terminal, or you are permanently unconscious or in a vegetative state.  

Will paramedics withhold treatment based on a living will?

No, a living will isn’t self-activating and only takes effect when two doctors certify that you are terminal and death is imminent. When those conditions are met, a ‘do not resuscitate’, or DNR, order is issued by your doctor. If you have a DNR, then paramedics will abide by that order.  

When can I have a living will?

You can have a living will if you are over the age of 18, of sound mind, and acting on your own free will.  

Is a living will apart of an ordinary will?

No, a living will specifies your healthcare wishes while an ordinary will deals with your property and estate.  

What are the life support choices I have with my living will?

There are three options for your living will and life support choices:

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.

What happens if I am pregnant when I become incapacitated?

All life sustaining measures will continue if you are pregnant, regardless of any directives in your living will.  

Can I change my mind about the choices in my living will?

Yes, you can, you can always create a new living will and revoke or terminate your existing living will, even without creating a new one.

Who can I appoint as my healthcare agent?

Your healthcare agent should be someone you trust and that can handle the directives in your living will. There are many people that you can choose to be your health care agent, however you are NOT allowed to name any of the following people as your health care agent:

  • Your doctor
  • A treating health care provider
  • A non-relative employee of a hospital, your doctor or other health care provider who is treating you.
  • An operator of a nursing home.
  • Operator of an assisted living facility or community care facility
  • A non-relative employee of a nursing home, assisted living facility or community care facility.

Do I need a lawyer to do a living will?

No, you can do your living will on your own and it does not even need to be notarized or witnessed, however having a lawyer is always a good idea for such important papers.

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