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A living will review is the process of reviewing and updating a living will, which is a formal document providing directions for medical treatment or, in some cases, for the end of medical support. In a living will, you state whether you want to continue receiving life-sustaining treatments. In addition, doctors and hospitals refer to the living will when a patient is unconscious, has a fatal disease, or is met with a life-threatening accident to determine whether the patient wants life-sustaining therapy, such as aided breathing or tube feeding.

In the absence of a proper living will, the spouse, family members, or other third parties are in charge of making decisions on medical treatment. These people might not be aware of the patient's preferences, or they might not want to comply with their verbal or oral instructions. However, the specific laws regarding decision-making vary by jurisdiction. In some cases, a court-appointed guardian may be responsible for making medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated individual.

What Contents Should be Included in a Living Will?

Many medical procedures in life-threatening conditions, including electric shock resuscitation, breathing, and dialysis, are covered in a living will. One can decide whether to approve any or all of these procedures. The decision to donate: tissue and organs after death can also be made. Patients can request pain medicine during their dying hours, even if they reject receiving life-sustaining treatment.

In most jurisdictions, even without a terminal illness or a life-threatening injury, one can extend the living will to encompass circumstances without brain activity or if doctors anticipate them to remain unconscious for the rest of their lives. It's best to know that a living will is a legal document that specifically addresses medical treatment and end-of-life decisions. In case of incapacitation, a living will specify the kind, level, and duration of medical care that person will receive.

If people cannot care for themselves or make choices, their wishes get spelled out in their living will. Think about how you want to incorporate your personal or religious convictions into the care received when making a will. The living will benefit from being divided into different care categories. You could start by determining the situations in which care should be given to save lives and the kinds of life-saving or preserving treatment, including blood transfusions and dialysis.

Include a category to indicate whether you want to care if you're unconscious or vegetative. Choose the location of the medical care you want, like, a hospital, a nursing home, your home, or another facility. Additionally, you can choose whether nutrients will be delivered orally, intravenously, or withheld.

What Is a Healthcare Power of Attorney?

An official document known as a healthcare power of attorney designates the person you want to make healthcare decisions for you. Your healthcare conduit, healthcare agent, or health care surrogate is the individual you specify in the document. A healthcare power of attorney form will not specify how end-of-life care should be provided or how medical procedures- should be used. Instead, it gives the person of your choice the authority to decide on your behalf. Living wills are combined with healthcare power of attorney agreements, but they do not replace them. In some states, an advance directive combines the two legal papers.

Why Is a Living Will Necessary?

Last wills and testaments are other names for traditional wills. This document outlines the distribution of assets and property after an individual passes away. If you have children, your will can also specify who should look after them. Individuals are deemed "intestate" if they pass away without leaving a will. It means that the distribution of their possessions, including their bank accounts and property, will be determined by the state where they legally reside. Nevertheless, medical decision-making is not covered in traditional wills, and they don't replace living wills in any way.

Older citizens who are terminally sick may feel a great need for a living will. Adults, however, should think about making one, regardless of age or health. Incapacitation may be brought on by an unexpected accident or a severe sickness and may be permanent or temporary. While it is unpleasant to consider, to guarantee that your decisions for yourself are followed through is to prepare for unforeseen circumstances. Living wills can be updated and revised. However, it’s important to follow the legal requirements and procedures for making changes to the document to ensure they are legally valid.

Hence, it is prudent to give your healthcare proxy a duplicate of your living will, the most recent version. Also, give it to relatives, friends, or a reliable neighbor who might be present when you need them. Ensure the copies are available for your doctor, other medical team members, and your attorney.

You or someone you trust should give your living will to the emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in the ambulance and the emergency department staff if you need to go to the hospital or urgent care facility.

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Key Terms

  • Beneficiary: A beneficiary is a person who obtains an inheritance via a will. Anyone you leave your valuable possessions to in your will is one of your inheritors or beneficiaries.
  • Guardian: A guardian who will be lawfully accountable for a child's care.
  • Codicil : If you want to make modifications or additions to your will, you can include a codicil. This modification keeps the initial will in place, but changes or adds some provisions. Keep in mind this is used for a will, not a living will. A living will requires a separate document for making changes.


Every adult should have a living will because it can guarantee that your medical care will be administered how you choose if you cannot verbally express your requirements and wishes. Additionally, a living will might spare your family unnecessary stress and strife during a difficult time.

Thus, it is rational to get in touch with our attorneys at ContractsCounsel well in advance and create a living will document that accurately reflects your preferences and permission, as even mild cases of dementia or disorientation could result in their rejection by the court.

ContractsCounsel is not a law firm, and this post should not be considered and does not contain legal advice. To ensure the information and advice in this post are correct, sufficient, and appropriate for your situation, please consult a licensed attorney. Also, using or accessing ContractsCounsel's site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and ContractsCounsel.

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