Question: What is a living will?
A living will is used to express your wishes regarding end of life decisions. A living will can be signed that says you want to be kept alive for as long as possible. More common, however, is a living will that says if you are in a terminal condition, persistent vegetative state, or irreversible coma and the doctors determine there is not a chance of recovery, then you do not want certain artificial measures to be kept alive. Please talk with your doctors about your wishes for issues that fall outside of “terminal condition, persistent vegetative state, or irreversible coma” and then add your wishes on those areas to your living will.
Without a living will to express your wishes, you may be kept alive for years. If a guardian is appointed for you, the guardian can ask the Court for permission to terminate life support. However, if there is a family fight about terminating life support, litigation could take a while.
October 10, 2006