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What is a living will and how is it different from a regular will. Jokes inside

A will is a person who's full name is typically William and may also go by the nickname Liam. Okay just kidding I know you're here for the legal stuff.


A living will is not really a will like you are thinking. It doesn't pass on any of your property to anyone when you die, nor does it pass any property to anyone when you're alive. Its really poorly named.


A living will is a directive to a Doctor to withhold life-sustaining procedures if you become terminally ill. It is where you're saying you want them to "pull the plug," or "keep the plug in as long as you can!" See, isn't "living will" a terrible name for this?


Well the authors of the Texas Health and Safety Code agree with me and they named it:


"Written Directive by Competent Adult; Notice to Physician."


But nobody would remember that. So living will it is. The rules are you have to be of sound mind at the time you create it (typically done at the same time as the regular will), you need two witnesses (or one notary), and you need to sign it (or if you can't physically sign it you can tell someone to sign it for you in front of the two witnesses or the one notary.)

From that moment on if you get to the point medically that you think it's time to tell the Doctor about your living will you just hand it over to him and he makes it part of your medical records file. If you are incompetent then another person can give your Doctor a copy of the living will.


So does that mean the Doctor gets to do whatever he wants? Not really. Here's what it would say,


If, in the judgment of my physician, I am suffering with a terminal condition from which I am expected to die within six months, even with available life-sustaining treatment provided in accordance with prevailing standards of medical care:

__________I request that all treatments other than those needed to keep me comfortable be discontinued or withheld and my physician allow me to die as gently as possible; OR

__________I request that I be kept alive in this terminal condition using available life-sustaining treatment. (THIS SELECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO HOSPICE CARE.)

MAKE SURE THE CHECKBOX IS IN THE RIGHT SPOT! Your life could depend on it.

BORING LEGAL DISCLAIMER


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For attorneys: This Blog is informational and educational in nature and is not a substitute for Westlaw or other research and consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. As you know the law can change day to day based on recent case opinions. And unfortunately you shouldn't cite it in court as binding authority because it is not. Mention it to your friends, just seek real consultation if its something important.




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