Contents of the Living Will

do it yourself Living Will software from Standard Legal
do it yourself Living Will software from Standard Legal

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Exploring The Contents Of Living Wills

If you have been thinking that you should plan for the distribution of your estate, making a last will and testament, and other, related, legal matters, you've noticed that there's a lot being said about living wills these days. In fact, there's so much comment about it, that you might even think you know, what a living will is and what it is for.

Well, you might be correct in making such assumptions, but not everyone is not that familiar with the scope of the living will.

legal formsWhen it comes to constructing a legal document such as the living will, the saying "knowledge is power" is pretty accurate. Another phrase, "better left to the experts", seems to be apt as well.

There's a lot of power inherent in a properly constructed living will, as well as a lot of room for error or omission.

So, before you grab a pencil and a legal pad, or download some "cut and paste" form off the Internet, and draft one for yourself, make sure you are acquainted with the structure and contents of living wills first. In this way, you would be more knowledgeable about how they can be of assistance to you and your family when that difficult moment turns up at some unknown date in the future..


For most of us, the most significant aspect to consider, when it comes to creating a document as important as a living will, would probably be the part that involves deciding what you want to come about in case you should someday fall into a terminal illness or coma. Although you are the only person who can determine what is, in fact, best for you, at least with regard to medical treatment, this right can be easily stripped away from you in the event of your incapacitation by illness, accident, or mental state.

Some people would choose to refuse life-prolonging measures if their desired quality of life cannot be restored through medical intervention. Other people, however, would prefer the exact opposite. Whichever option a person chooses, a living will lets everyone know the person's decision with regard to health care. If the ability to communicate these preferences is taken away, or, not taken advantage of, then that is where serious difficulty starts for the loved ones the determination of whether to prolong life the life of a loved one or not.

The wide variety of disabilities which may occur makes the contents of living wills more vulnerable to disputes between doctors, family members, and patients.

As we know, people hold different points of view and expectations with regard to serious medical conditions....and, medical interventions. In addition, some types of permanent infirmities, and chronic ailments are actually more manageable compared to others and should actually be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

A properly constructed living will should contain a description of the kind of circumstances a person would wish to endure. These should be in writing, and, should be defined in specific terms using the following criteria: type of illness or injury, severity, and prognosis (particularly pertaining to irreversibility or permanence).

In addition, the wording needs to be comprehensible and purely medical. Statements such as "I do not want to be in a persistently hopeless state" should be avoided as they are unclear when compared to straightforwardly saying "no" to the use of a mechanical ventilator to prolong a hopeless condition.

In most medical situations, it takes a bit of time to determine as completely as possible if a patient will remain in bad shape permanently, or, if a certain degree of recovery is probable. In a great many cases, a definitive diagnosis can only be formed after weeks of close observation. A person's medical condition, however, may change without warning either for the better or for the worse. That is a reason not to indicate time restrictions in your living will.

While preparing for the worst, you should always build your request for, or refusal of, treatment on the possibility of recovery, the probability of enduring discomfort or pain, and the professional opinion of the attending physicians. Other causes of treatment refusal you need to consider may include the risk or pain associated with treatments, and the distressing effect of treatments (for example, hemodialysis sessions).

Although you will find that the contents of living wills are fairly similar in most cases, the many various state laws affecting them may include additions or specifications in the forms. For this reason, it would also be an excellent idea to gain some knowledge about state-specific policies.

It is for this reason, that a high quality package of do it yourself living will forms which are kept up-to-date and in line with all legal requirements of the various states.
do it yourself Living Will software from Standard Legal

Contents of a Living Will

Page Updated 4:49 PM Monday 8/3/2015