Can I Fill Out My Own Living Will and Have it Be Legal?

By A.L. Kennedy

Your living will is a legal document that explains the kind of medical care you do and do not want to have if you become incapacitated. It provides guidance to your family and your physicians when you are unable to tell them yourself what you want. Most states follow the Uniform Health Care Decisions Act, which allows you to fill out your own living will and have it be legal.

Your living will is a legal document that explains the kind of medical care you do and do not want to have if you become incapacitated. It provides guidance to your family and your physicians when you are unable to tell them yourself what you want. Most states follow the Uniform Health Care Decisions Act, which allows you to fill out your own living will and have it be legal.

Format

Your living will must be in writing to be valid, according to MedLaw Plus. You can either type or write your living will longhand. You can even use a form in which you fill in the required information. The Uniform Health Care Decisions Act includes a sample form which you can use to make your living will, but this form is not required. Your physician or hospital may also be able to provide you with a form or instructions for writing your living will.

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Signature

In order to be legal, your living will must bear your signature. A living will form usually provides a space for your signature and the date at the bottom of the form. If you are writing your living will without using a form, sign and date your will at the bottom of the last page. Remember to include the day, month and year in the date. This may prevent confusion about which living will is in effect if you later decide to write a new living will with different instructions.

Witnesses

Most states require at least two witnesses to sign your living will in order for it to be legal. These witnesses should first watch you sign, then each should sign below your name to indicate they saw you sign your own living will. Your witnesses should be at least 18 years old and mentally able to understand what they are witnessing, according to the Uniform Health Care Directives Act. In addition, they should not be medical professionals who are treating you or the person who has power of attorney for your healthcare needs, according to MedLaw Plus.

Exception

As of December 2010,l only Nebraska has not adopted the Uniform Health Care Directives Act. Nebraska state law does, however, allow residents to make living wills which should be signed by two witnesses or a notary. Your witnesses cannot be related to you or be your medical professionals.

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Do the Signatures on a Living Will Have to Be Notarized in Oklahoma?

References

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Minnesota Law on Living Wills

Prior to August 1, 1998, Minnesota law provided for several types of health directives, including living wills, durable health care powers of attorney and mental health declarations. Under the current law, you can create a document called a “health care directive” to leave healthcare instructions, appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you, or both. The law changed so people can use one form for all their health care instructions. Forms created before August 1998 are still legal if they followed the law in effect when written.

Are Living Wills Complicated?

Living wills allow people to control the type of medical care or procedures they receive, even if they are unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate with their doctor. Usually associated with end-of-life decisions such as artificial resuscitation and hydration, tube feeding and artificial respiration, living wills can be used to express any concerns or preferences you may have about the medical care you receive. Living wills must be in writing and signed by the patient; other formalities vary depending upon the state in which the document is signed.

Are Living Wills Legal in Florida?

A living will is a legal document that allows you to set forth what types of medical treatment you do and do not want to receive should you become incapable of consenting to such procedures at a future date. In Florida, a living will is legal as long as it meets the requirements set forth in the state's statutes. It is binding unless revoked and must be honored by a treating physician.

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