Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Living Will

A living will is one type of advance health (medical) directive that is witnessed or notarized. This is a written document that specifies how a patient wishes to be treated, if he or she becomes incapacitated by illness, injury, or old age. A living will can be very specific or very general. The most common statement in a living will is: “If I suffer an incurable, irreversible illness, disease, or condition and my attending physician determines that my condition is terminal, I direct that life-sustaining measures that would serve only to prolong my dying be withheld or discontinued.”

More specific living wills may include information regarding an individual's desire for such services such as analgesia (pain relief), antibiotics, hydration, feeding, and the use of ventilators or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

A living will is often accompanied by a specific type of power of attorney or health care proxy and sometimes by an organ donation statement.