Living will overview
The Basics of Living Wills and Health Care Directives
What is a Living Will?A Living Will is a document that can be used when you are older or become sick or unable to care of yourself.
What is the Living Will used for?A Living Will tells your family, your doctor(s) and the hospital what you want done in case you become so sick that you are unable to make decisions about your treatment. This document tells your family and your doctors whether or not you want them to quit giving you food and water, whether you want pain medication to be administered, and whether you want them to let you expire when your illness has reached the point of no return.
When should I prepare this Living Will?You should immediately prepare this document if you have reached an advanced age or if you have been diagnosed with a serious illness.
Who should help me prepare this Living Will?Your attorney can prepare your Living Will. Sometimes a doctor's office or a hospital will give you a form, but sometimes the form doesn't cover everything you need covered. If the form does not allow you to fully express your wishes, your lawyer should prepare this for you.
What is a health care surrogate certificate?A Health Care Surrogate Certificate is a separate document where you name the spouse, family member, relative, friend, pastor or doctor that you want to give authority to, to make the most serious decisions about treatment you should or should not receive, if you become too sick to make these decisions yourself.
Who should get a copy of my Living Will and Health Care Surrogate Certificate?First of all you should tell your immediate family when you have been diagnosed with a serious condition. Next, your Husband, your children, your pastor, your doctor and your hospital should all get a copy of your Living Will and your Health Care Surrogate Certificate. This way they all know what you have decided and this will limit confusion or misunderstandings.