Living Will, Questions and Answers

Questions Answers
What is a Living Will? A document which allows an individual to authorize his or her physician to withhold or discontinue extraordinary means or artificial nutrition or hydration if his or her condition is terminal and incurable or if diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state.
What are “extraordinary means”? A medical procedure that serves only to postpone artificially the moment of death.
What is “artificial nutrition or hydration”? Receipt of food or water through the use of feeding tubes.
What is a “persistent vegetative state”? A condition whereby the patient suffers from a nearly complete loss of brain function.
Who determines if I am in a “persistent vegetative state”? Your attending physician.
If I have a Health Care Power of Attorney, do I really need a Living Will? The documents have two different purposes. The Living Will allows you to make a choice, without leaving the choice to your health care agent.
Can I have both a Living Will and a Health Care Power of Attorney ?
  • Yes.
  • If the two documents are inconsistent, your Living Will controls.