What is a Living Will and Should I Have One?

Question: What is a living will and should I have one?

Answer: Well, a living will is a type of advanced directive. And I use the term advanced directive, as most people do, to be a generic term for any kind of document that spells out your wishes regarding medical care when you can't speak for yourself.

Probably the most well-known one is a living will, but it is actually a very limited document. It is a document which you spell out your wishes regarding medical care if you are in a terminal condition or end-stage condition of another disease or in a permanent state of unconsciousness.

So those are actually very narrow limitations, but it does provide you a vehicle to spell out what you would want and what you would not want. It can be used to say give me everything that's medically possible, or it can be used to say, when I get to this point, stop.


Next: What is a Durable Power of Attorney?

Previous: How can I become more involved in breast cancer advocacy issues?