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What is a Living Will?

What are Advance Directives?

Why is talking about your end of life wishes important?

If talking is so important, why is it so hard?

What is Palliative Care?

How Can Palliative Care Help Me?

Common Misconceptions about Hospice

Medical Terms for End-of-Life



What is a Living Will?

A living will is a legal document with your wishes in advance about medical treatment. While you are competent, regarding your decisions about such things as whether you would wish to be placed on life support, or whether you would wish to be artificially hydrated.

This written statement tells health care providers what type of life-prolonging treatments or procedures to perform if you have a terminal condition or are in a persistent vegetative .

A living will does not become effective unless you are incapacitated, until then you'll be able to say what treatments you do or don't want. They usually require a certification by your doctor and another doctor that you are either suffering from a terminal illness or permanently unconscious before they become effective as well.

Living wills should not be confused with a regular will. A living will only deals with and addresses issues regarding your medical care while you are still living. A living will is often combined with a "health care proxy," which allows you to designate someone to make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated.

The living will and the health care proxy together make up what's called an "advanced health care directive."
Living wills can be used to refuse extraordinary, life-prolonging care and are effective in providing clear and convincing evidence that may be necessary under state statutes to refuse care after one becomes terminally ill.

A living will provides clear and convincing evidence of one's wishes regarding end-of-life care.

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