Wills and Trusts:

How Living Wills Work

Living wills only become operative if two physicians, including your attending physician, have determined that death will occur within a relatively short period of time, and you are unconscious or otherwise unable to express your wishes for further treatment.

In order to prepare a living will you must fill out the form and sign it in the presence of two witnesses, one of whom must be a Notary Public. It is recommended that you discuss your decision with close family members or friends as well as with your doctor. Read the form carefully, including the section on who can be witnesses.

A copy of the living will should be given to your physician. One or more members of your family (or close friends) should know that you have a living will and either should have a copy or know where to find a copy. Unlike regular wills, there is no official governmental recording of a living will.

If you wish to, you can revoke your living will simply by tearing it up or just informing your doctor by word of mouth or in writing. You also have the option of designating a person, on the Declaration, who may revoke the Will on your behalf.