Draft Living Will

Clients Rate Lawyers on our Platform 4.9/5 Stars
based on 3,949 reviews

Jump to Section

Need help with a Living Will?

Post Project Now

What Does It Mean to Draft a Living Will?

A living will expresses a person’s desires for healthcare and end-of-life medical treatment if they cannot express informed consent. Living wills act as an advanced directive during an individual’s lifetime to ensure their wishes are followed if they are ever in critical condition and unable to make their own choices.

For a living will to be valid, it must meet your state’s requirements for witnesses and notarization. For example, suppose you hire a lawyer to draft a living will. In that case, they can also serve as a witness if they are not a beneficiary in your last will and testament.

Here is an article that defines living will.

What is the Purpose of a Living Will?

A living will is not the same as a last will and testament, which divides a person’s assets among beneficiaries. Instead, a living will guide medical professionals and family members if you cannot make decisions about your healthcare.

Living wills do more than specify healthcare desires; they can cover topics such as:

  • End-of-life medical treatment
  • Pain management
  • Organ donation

People do not need serious health conditions to draft a living will. However, it is a useful document for anyone who wants to ensure their healthcare is handled according to their desires in the event of serious illness, injury, or impairment.

Living wills can also leave your healthcare in the hands of trusted loved ones through a power of attorney. A medical power of attorney appoints someone as your healthcare proxy, which enables them to make medical decisions on your behalf.

Here is an article by the Mayo Clinic with more information on how living wills influence healthcare.

Meet some lawyers on our platform

Ryenne S.

127 projects on CC
View Profile

Wendy C.

2 projects on CC
View Profile

Kelvin R.

10 projects on CC
View Profile

Michael M.

166 projects on CC
View Profile

What Should Be Included in a Living Will?

A living will include a person’s desire for healthcare in situations they are unable to make decisions for themselves. The elements of a living will include:

  • An advance healthcare directive. Advance directives go into effect when you cannot make decisions for yourself. This includes cases in which you are seriously ill, critically injured, or mentally incapable of understanding and making informed decisions about your healthcare.
  • Directive to physicians. This directive explains your wishes for healthcare to medical physicians attending you in the future. It can include your wishes for end-of-life care, such as a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR), instructions for organ donation, and information regarding specific types of medical treatments, like blood transfusions or medication.
  • A declaration about life-sustaining or prolonging procedures. Some people do not want to be placed on life support if they need it. They may also want to limit how long they remain on life support or receive life-sustaining care. This portion of the living will help you further specify the treatments you would like to receive.

You can also appoint a durable power of attorney in place of a living will or in addition to one in some states. A power of attorney gives someone you trust the right to make medical decisions on your behalf.

You can require the person to follow the directives in your living will and then make their own decisions if further action is required or new alternatives become available. For example, you may not have covered how long you would like to remain on life support. You might want to let your power of attorney decide based on your prognosis.

Here is an article with ContractsCounsel’s guide to writing a living will.

Who Drafts a Living Will?

You can write a living will or have an estate planning attorney draft one. Working with an attorney can ensure that all necessary documents are in place. In addition, many states require you to have additional documents for an advance directive, such as a healthcare power of attorney and a DNR order.

You may not be fully aware of what medical treatments and risks you could face in a severe circumstance, so an attorney can help you structure your will to include all of your wishes.

For example, some institute DNR orders because they do not want to take on the risks that CPR can present to patients in critical condition or cardiac arrest. The same applies to DNI (do not incubate) orders.

You can also choose how to customize your living will to suit your wishes. For example, you may want to receive life support in some circumstances but not in others. Having a lawyer organize your document fully expresses your wishes is the best way to ensure it fully expresses your wishes.

Here is an article about 16 things you should do when planning your estate.

When Should You Write a Living Will?

You should write a living will when you get married, are diagnosed with a medical condition, or are aging and contemplating your future healthcare. In actuality, there is no wrong time to write a living will.

You should also write a living will if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and are considering your end-of-life care. For example, suppose you become incapacitated or unable to voice your wishes. In that case, living will guide your family and medical physicians.

Here is an article with 10 steps for creating a living will on your own.

What is the Main Drawback of a Living Will?

The greatest drawback of a living will is that it can’t account for every circumstance you may face in the future. It’s also possible that your feelings toward certain healthcare treatments change. Still, you cannot express them, so medical professionals follow your directive.

It is also important to note that learning the correct way to write a living will is not the same as knowing how to write a last will and testament. Living wills have their unique format, focus, and legal requirements based on your state.

The best way to avoid the negative side effects of a living will is to review yours annually. Then, if your desires have changed, you can update your will to reflect them.

Post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to receive flat fee bids from lawyers for your project. All lawyers have been thoroughly vetted by our team and peer-reviewed by our customers for you to explore before hiring.

How ContractsCounsel Works
Hiring a lawyer on ContractsCounsel is easy, transparent and affordable.
1. Post a Free Project
Complete our 4-step process to provide info on what you need done.
2. Get Bids to Review
Receive flat-fee bids from lawyers in our marketplace to compare.
3. Start Your Project
Securely pay to start working with the lawyer you select.

Meet some of our Lawyers

Zachary J. on ContractsCounsel
View Zachary
5.0 (29)
Member Since:
May 27, 2022

Zachary J.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Crown Point, IN
4 Yrs Experience
Licensed in IL
The University of Michigan Law School

I am a solo-practitioner with a practice mostly consisting of serving as a fractional general counsel to growth stage companies. With a practical business background, I aim to bring real-world, economically driven solutions to my client's legal problems and pride myself on efficient yet effective work.

Angela Y. on ContractsCounsel
View Angela
5.0 (8)
Member Since:
June 16, 2022

Angela Y.

Founder and Managing Partner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
New Jersey
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ, NY
Rutgers University School of Law

NJ and NY corporate contract lawyer and founder of a firm specializing in helping entrepreneurs. With a background in law firms, technology, and world class corporate departments, I've handled contracts and negotiations for everything from commercial leases and one-off sales agreements, to multi-million dollar asset sales. I love taking a customer-focused and business-minded approach to helping my clients achieve their goals. Other information: learning to surf, lover of travel, and one-time marathoner (NYC 2018) yulawlegal.com

Angelica M. on ContractsCounsel
View Angelica
5.0 (2)
Member Since:
June 12, 2022

Angelica M.

Managing Attorney
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
North Carolina
8 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NC
North Carolina Central University School of Law

Angelica McDonald, Esq. has singlehandedly established an in-demand law firm, won several accolades for her incredible work in her community and has her sights set on building a bi-coastal law practice that serves clients from her hometown to Hollywood. She is putting her city of Raeford, North Carolina on the map as the birthplace of the next legal superstar. And she is just at the onset of her career. An astute attorney, Angelica is sought after for her razor-sharp business acumen and her relentless litigation style. With a diverse background in entertainment, media and sports law, as well as business, she represents entrepreneurs and athletes on everything from complex contract negotiation to intellectual property matters, ensuring anything they’ve built is protected.

Michael T. on ContractsCounsel
View Michael
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
June 13, 2022

Michael T.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Fairfax, Virginia
33 Yrs Experience
Licensed in DC, MD, VA
College of William and Mary

I have been in practice since 1990 and practice in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. I am an experienced litigator and look forward to resolving your legal questions as efficiently as possible.

Richard G. on ContractsCounsel
View Richard
5.0 (1)
Member Since:
June 20, 2022

Richard G.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Greensboro, NC
3 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NC
University of Elon School of Law

Hello! I am an Iowa native trying to bring some Midwest problem-solving to southern civil law. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know the individuals and businesses I assist. I practice estate planning and business formation and, with my litigation experience in mind, I help clients plan to ensure they and their interests are protected in the future.

Danielle G. on ContractsCounsel
View Danielle
5.0 (2)
Member Since:
July 12, 2022

Danielle G.

Attorney and Founder at Danielle D. Giovannone Law Office
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Schenectady, NY
16 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NY
Fordham University School of Law

Danielle Giovannone is the principal of Danielle D. Giovannone Law Office. In her experience, Danielle has found that many business do not require in-house legal counsel, but still need outside counsel that knows their business just as well as in-house counsel. This need inspired Danielle to start her firm. Before starting her firm, Danielle served as Contracts Counsel at Siena College and as an attorney at the New York City Department of Education, Office of the General Counsel. At the NYCDOE, she served as lead counsel negotiating and drafting large-scale commercial agreements, including contracts with major technology firms on behalf of the school district. Prior to the NYCDOE, Danielle worked as an associate at a small corporate and securities law firm, where she gained hands-on experience right out of law school. Danielle has provided legal and policy advice on intellectual property and data privacy matters, as well as corporate law, formation and compliance, employer liability, insurance, regulatory matters, general municipal matters and non-profit issues. Danielle holds a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a B.S. from Cornell University. She is active in her Capital District community providing pro bono services to the Legal Project, and has served as Co-Chair to the Niskayuna Co-op Nursery School and Vice President of Services to the Craig Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization. Danielle is a member of the New York State Bar Association.

Anand A. on ContractsCounsel
View Anand
4.9 (21)
Member Since:
July 17, 2022

Anand A.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Philadelphia, PA
9 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ, PA
Rutgers University School of Law

Anand is an entrepreneur and attorney with a wide-ranging background. In his legal capacity, Anand has represented parties in (i) commercial finance, (ii) corporate, and (iii) real estate matters throughout the country, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Arizona, and Georgia. He is well-versed in business formation and management, reviewing and negotiating contracts, advising clients on financing strategy, and various other arenas in which individuals and businesses commonly find themselves. As an entrepreneur, Anand is involved in the hospitality industry and commercial real estate. His approach to the legal practice is to treat clients fairly and provide the highest quality representation possible. Anand received his law degree from Rutgers University School of Law in 2013 and his Bachelor of Business Administration from Pace University, Lubin School of Business in 2007.

Michael R. on ContractsCounsel
View Michael
Member Since:
May 29, 2022

Michael R.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
11 Yrs Experience
Licensed in CA
Whittier Law School (Top 5%)

If you're looking for an attorney who can help your business succeed, look no further! With my experience in the legal field, I can provide you with the legal advice you need with entity formation, contract drafting, business operations, and more, And because I'm committed to providing high quality service, you can be sure that your needs will always be met. Contact me today to learn more about how I can help your business thrive!

Jason Q. on ContractsCounsel
View Jason
Member Since:
June 12, 2022

Jason Q.

Attorney / Owner
Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Sarasota, Florida
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in FL
Wake Forest University School of Law

I am a Florida estate planning and probate attorney helping clients achieve their goals through personalized legal strategies. Excellent communication, thorough preparation, and accurate execution are the keys to success.

AHAJI A. on ContractsCounsel
Member Since:
July 8, 2022


Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Houston, TX
24 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NC, TX
Indiana University - IUPUI

Ahaji Amos, PLLC is a Houston-based intellectual property and civil litigation firm servicing clients throughout the U.S.

Michael J. on ContractsCounsel
View Michael
Member Since:
July 14, 2022

Michael J.

Free Consultation
Get Free Proposal
Warren, New Jersey
15 Yrs Experience
Licensed in NJ, NY
New York Law School

Combining extensive experience in litigation and as general counsel for a real estate and private equity company, I provide ongoing guidance and support to clients on a variety of transactional matters, including business formation, partnership agreements, corporate agreements, commercial and residential leasing, and employment issues.

Find the best lawyer for your project

Browse Lawyers Now

Want to speak to someone?

Get in touch below and we will schedule a time to connect!

Request a call