A Living Will, sometimes known as an Advance Health Care Directive, is a document by which you can set forth your instructions for your health care providers in the event that you become unable to participate, by a lack of capacity, in your own health care decision making.
With a Living Will, you may appoint a health care representative to communicate with your health care providers, but they will be obligated by the choices you make in your Living Will.
Oftentimes, a Living Will is used to direct that life-sustaining treatment, including or excluding artificially provided fluids or nutrition, be withheld or withdrawn in a series of circumstances, such as 1) when the life-sustaining treatment is experimental and not proven therapy, or is likely to be ineffective or futile in prolonging life, or is likely to merely prolong an imminent dying process, 2) when you are permanently unconscious, 3) when you are in a terminal condition, or 4) when you have a serious irrevocable illness or condition, and the likely risks and burdens associated with the medical intervention outweigh the likely benefits to you from such intervention. A Living Will may alternatively be used to direct that all medically appropriate treatment be provided to sustain your life, regardless of your medical or physical condition.
You may direct that your health care provider issue a “do not resuscitate” order in the event you suffer one of the above conditions. Finally, you may express your wishes as to whether or not you wish to be an organ donor with a Living Will.
With a properly drafted and executed Living Will, your predetermined wishes become binding directives. There are legal penalties if a health care professional intentionally fails to act in accordance with your directives, and it is a crime for someone to willfully conceal, cancel, deface, obliterate, or withhold personal knowledge of an advance directive or the modification or revocation thereof.
If you would like to turn your wishes for your health care treatment into legal directives by having a properly drafted and executed Living Will, please contact a Toms River attorney at the Law Offices of Apicelli, Costanzo & Russom.
NOTE: This page is for general information only and is not be solely relied upon. If you have questions about your estate plan, please call a Toms River estate planning attorney today!