Living Will

General Information

This is an advanced directive document in which you can specify how you wish to be treated if you become incapacitated. It is usually used to identify or to limit the use of life-sustaining treatments such as resuscitation and artificial breathing supported by a machine. In some states, it may also be used to limit other forms of therapy.

A living will gives you autonomy over your health care decisions. The problem is that once you become mentally incapacitated, your instructions can no longer be modified to accommodate your changing health status. These changes may involve circumstances that you could not anticipate or predict.

Preparation of a living will allows you, along with your physician, to include or exclude specific forms of care. It allows you to set conditions for the use of some treatments. Your physician can help you understand the meaning of your choices in light of your personal health history.