Q. What is a living will?
A living will is a relatively new legal document which has been made necessary by the advent of recent technological advances in the field of medicine which can allow for the continued existence of a person on advanced “life support” systems long after any normal semblance of “life,” as many people considered it, has ceased.
Q. How does the living will work?
A living will provides a written declaration for an individual to make known his or her decisions on life-prolonging procedures. It declares your wishes not to be kept alive by artificial or mechanical means if you are suffering from a terminal condition and your death would be imminent without the use of such artificial means. It provides a set of instructions regarding your wishes about this important matter.
Q. Can anyone make a living will?
You must be at least 19 Years of age; and of “sound mind” and able to comprehend the nature of your action in signing such a document.
Q. How does the living will become a valid legal of document?
You should assemble three witnesses and a notary public to witness your signature. These witnesses should have no connection with you from a health care or beneficiary standpoint. In front of all of the witnesses and notary public you should state: “This is my living will which I am about to sign. I ask that each of you witness my signature.” After you and all witnesses have signed in the document, the final step is for the notary public to sign in the space indicated. When this step is completed, your living will is a valid legal document.
Q. Who should have a copy of my living will?
Make several copies of your living will. If appropriate, deliver a copy to your physician to have placed in your medical records file. You may also desire to give a copy to your clergy, and a copy to your spouse or other trusted relative.