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What is a Living Will?

As a competent adult you have the right to decide whether or not you want doctors to use life support or any other life-sustaining treatment (such as nutrition, hydration, transfusion, hemodialysis, etc) to prolong your life once there is no reasonable expectation of your recovery. A Living Will, also known as an Advanced Directive for Health Care, is the legal document that allows you to make these decisions.

The declarations in your Living Will take effect when a physician has determined that you are incompetent to make your own decisions and have an incurable and irreversible medical condition that will result in death regardless of the continued life- sustaining treatment. Death is as much a reality as birth, growth, maturity, and old age. A Living Will is not a request that your life be taken; it is simply a request that the inevitability of dying not be prolonged.

What are the Benefits of a Living Will?

By executing a Living Will you can direct the initiation, continuation, withholding and withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. A Living Will can serve as a request to your family and/or physician that they refuse such treatment on your behalf if and when you are unable to make that choice for yourself. Without a Living Will, extraordinary life saving measures may be implemented, which may be contrary to your wishes. Dealing with the inevitable death of a family member is hard, but dealing with the decision to terminate life-sustaining treatment is even harder. A Living Will relieves your family of the burden of making such a difficult decision and makes the decision your own.


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Owlett & Lewis, P.C.
One Charles Street
Wellsboro, Pennsylvania 16901
Phone: (570) 723-1000