What You Need to Know
You may sign the living will form (Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates) if you are at least 18 years old, of sound mind and acting on your own free will. The directive instructs your doctor not to use life support to extend the natural process of dying. This directive will take effect only when you are in the terminal phase of an illness. Parents may complete a living will for children younger than 18 years of age.
If you sign a living will, talk about it with your doctor, and ask that a copy be made part of your medical record.
You may tell your doctor your wishes if you are unable to sign a written directive.
Written or oral directives must be witnessed by two individuals. A notary is not necessary. The following persons may not act as witnesses:
- The person you have designated as your agent
- A person related to you by blood or marriage
- A person entitled to any part of your estate after your death under a will or codicil executed by you or by the operation of law
- Your attending physician
- An employee of your attending physician
- An employee of a health care facility in which you are a patient if the employee is providing direct patient care to you or is an officer, director, partner, or business office employee of the health care facility or of any parent organization of the health care facility
- A person who, at the same time this power of attorney is executed, has a claim against any part of your estate after your death
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