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What is a living will?

A Living Will is another type of advance directive, which is used to control decisions about life support. By signing a Living Will, you state that you do not want to receive any form of life support if your doctor determines that you are terminally ill and your death is imminent. The Living Will gives your doctor permission to withhold or discontinue life support if this happens.

There is a standardized form for the Living Will, but the declarations
in the Living Will do not have to be made on that form.

Signing a Living Will

You must sign a Living Will in the presence of two disinterested witnesses. A
disinterested witness is someone not related to you by blood or marriage. The
witness also must not be someone who is financially responsible for your health

The Difference Between a Living Will and a Power of

A Living Will is much different than a Power of Attorney. The Living Will
does not appoint an agent to speak for you to make sure that your wishes are
followed. The Living Will does not deal with any health care decisions other
than life support.
Also, a Living Will authorizes the withdrawal or withholding of life
sustaining treatment only under the limited circumstances described above. By
contrast, a Power of Attorney gives you the ability to specify the circumstances
under which you would want life support to be withheld or withdrawn.

Do you need to have a living will if you already have a
health care power of attorney?

If you do not wish to receive life support, you may wish to sign a Living
Will in addition to a Power of Attorney. If the agent that you name in the POA
is not able or available to act on your behalf, then the POA cannot be used to
withhold or withdraw life support. But if you have a Living Will, your doctor
can follow your wishes. It is important to understand that the Living Will is
used only if your POA for Health Care cannot be used because your agents cannot
or will not act.

Who Should Have a Copy of Your Living Will

It is important that your doctors have a copy of your Living Will. If you
regularly use a certain hospital, you should give them a copy as well. You
should give a copy to anyone named as your agents under a Power of Attorney and
to close family members. It is a good idea to keep a list of the people who have
a copy. This way, if you make any changes in the future, you will be sure that
they are notified.

Revocation of a Living Will

You can revoke the Living Will at any time, regardless of your mental or
physical condition. This can be done by destroying the document or by other
means, but it is best to sign a formal written revocation.

Article Source: http://freelegalinformation.info

Published by: Illinois Legal Aid

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