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Living Will

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A living will is a document that clarifies a person’s wishes with respect to life-sustaining treatment. The decisions outlined in a living will are often referred to as “pull the plug” type decisions. In other words, if a person is in a terminal condition and is unable to speak for themselves, the question often becomes whether life sustaining treatment should be administered, and if so, for how long. Outlining a person’s wishes in a living will can be difficult because you sometimes hear stories about someone who is artificially kept alive for months or years without any sort of quality of life. However, you also hear stories of people who are artificially kept alive for a period of weeks or months that miraculously snap out of their terminal or vegetative state and make a full recovery. A person who is in a terminal or vegetative state is unable to communicate and therefore a legal issue becomes a question of who can make decisions on that person’s behalf. If a person has a living will in place, the document will clarify the person’s wishes and remove the subjectivity and the pressure of placing that decision on a loved one.