The Living Will and Health-Care Proxy
You may have very strong feelings about the medical treatment you would or wouldn't want if you were
terminally ill or severely injured and unable to communicate your wishes. One way to make your desires
known is through a living will.
The Living Will
A living will describes the medical procedures, drugs, and courses of treatment that, in certain situations,
you would choose for yourself if you were able to do so. It also describes under what conditions you would
want treatment withheld and, if you so desire, can instruct medical personnel not to use artificial means
or heroic measures to keep you alive if there is no hope for your recovery.
The Health-Care Proxy
To ensure that the wishes expressed in your living will are carried out, you should select someone
to authorize a course of treatment on your behalf. A health-care proxy is a signed and witnessed document
that appoints an agent to make decisions on your health care if your doctor determines that you are unable
to make these decisions for yourself. Be certain that the person you name understands your wishes and
is willing to act in your best interests should it become necessary.
When preparing a living will or health-care proxy, it is important to consult a legal advisor for help.
Both of these documents can help to ensure your peace of mind that your health care wishes will be followed
should the need arise.