Important Legal Documents

Living Will

Did you know you have the right to refuse medical treatment, even if not receiving that treatment will cause you to die? There are circumstances where you may want this choice, such as if you were permanently comatose with no chance to ever regain consciousness and had to be connected to life support machines. The problem is that there is no way to voice an opinion once you are in this condition. The only way to prove the desire for no "extraordinary treatment" (this means such equipment as an artificial respirator machine or artificial feeding) is in a written document—prepared in advance—called a Living Will.

A Living Will becomes an issue only when there is no chance of recovery in the opinion of all the doctors treating you. If you temporarily need a respirator or feeding through a tube (for instance, immediately after surgery), a Living Will won't prevent you from getting the necessary care.

SUGGESTION: Make sure that your doctor has a copy of your Living Will, as well as your attorney, family members and the hospital you are admitted to for treatment.

You can contact an attorney to have a Living Will prepared or you can prepare one yourself using state-specific Living Will forms. Many states have Living Will laws. For more information on Living Wills and the laws in your state, consult with your attorney.

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