A living will is a document that lays out your wishes for end of life care. This document is critical to ensuring that your wishes are protected by addressing the many important questions regarding your health, including nourishment, procedures and termination of life sustaining treatment.
A Living Will is a really important document that we help help our clients prepare. In the movies you've probably heard of it as somebody going to “pull the plug.” Basically, it’s a declaration that someone makes in writing that they don't want artificial means to continue to prolong their life when it's unnecessary to do so and they could just die naturally. You name an agent to act on your behalf and a successor agent if they can't do it. What’s interesting is that it’s not that person’s decision to pull the plug. Rather, it’s their job to honor your wish to do so because you’ve already made that decision in writing. So what they do is that they have to follow your instructions they speak with with the physicians to ensure that you are in fact incapacitated and that there is a terminal condition, an end stage condition, or a persistent vegetative state that's present. Then your treating physician and an additional physician will make the recommendation, based on your wishes in this document, that there's no reasonable medical probability that you would recover and that lifeprolonging procedures should be withheld or withdrawn so that you may die naturally. You need to pick someone that's very strong and able to help carry out your wishes because this is really your very last one.