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Health Care Directives (Living Wills)

Posted by attorney Mary Anne Vance

You may have heard Health Care Directives popularly referred to as Living Wills. They are not a Will, which is a document that directs who should inherit your money if you die. The Health Care Directive is your statement as to whether you want certain types of life sustaining medical treatment when you are seriously ill. The Health Care Directive is created in the Washington Natural Death Act (RCW 70.122). Generally, the Health Care Directive allows you to specify whether you want artificially provided nutrition and/or hydration when you are in a permanent unconscious condition. Each of us can change the wording on this statutory form and we can even create our own form using our own words.

Additional resources provided by the author

The Washington State Medical Association web site offers a sample Health Care Directive form. Please note that the Health Care Directive is the second of two forms in the same PDF file, so you will have to scroll down to see it.

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