What is a Living Will?

Living wills are relatively new creature in our law. The need for Living Wills arose as a result of advances in the medical field, primarily the discovery and development of mechanical ventilation around the 1950’s. As technology, advanced, patients could be maintained longer and longer artificially. It was inevitable that some people would want to refuse this type of treatment and allow nature to take its course. When family members wanted to refuse treatment on behalf of an incapacitated person, it became very complicated from a legal standpoint. A Living Will is a person’s written declaration as to his or her desires for discontinued or continued medical treatment and/or the administration or removal of food and water when medical treatment or administration of food and water only artificially extends the process of life.

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