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A living will tells your health-care professional whether you want death-delaying procedures used if you have a terminal condition and are unable to state your wishes. A living will, unlike a health care power of attorney, only applies if you have a terminal condition. A terminal condition means an incurable and irreversible condition such that death is imminent and the application of any death delaying procedures serves only to prolong the dying process.
Even if you sign a living will, food and water cannot be withdrawn if it would be the only cause of death. Also, if you are pregnant and your health-care professional thinks you could have a live birth, your living will cannot go into effect.
You can use a standard living will form or write your own. You may write specific directions about the death-delaying procedures you do or do not want.
Two people must witness your signing of the living will. Your health-care professional cannot be a witness. It is your responsibility to tell your health-care professional if you have a living will if you are able to do so. You can cancel your living will at any time, either by telling someone or by canceling it in writing.
If you have both a health care power of attorney and a living will, the agent you name in your power of attorney will make your health-care decisions unless he or she is unavailable.
As of January 1, 2006, organ donors have to register within the First-Person Consent Organ/Tissue Donor Registry to be considered as a donor. An individual's decision to be listed in the state's organ and tissue registry is binding. Additional witnesses, signatures or decisions from the donor's surviving family or guardian are no longer required for donation. Register now