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A woman watching over her unconscious son.

Living Wills

An elderly man in a hospital bed staring out of the window.

Living wills

A living will expresses your wishes regarding medical treatment. Also known as an advance directive, these documents are vitally important should you become incapacitated and unable to give consent. They help to guide doctors' decisions.

A man in a hospital bed on life support.

When they might be useful

A common example is where someone specifies that if they are in a coma, and their condition is not improving, then a Doctor is to switch off any life support machines. But they can be used for all kinds of things, where someone has strong feelings about a particular medical treatment such as a blood transfusion and wants to document their wishes. This kind of situation can cause upset in a family. An Advance Decision can actually make a family’s decisions easier, as it is all there in black and white.

A last will and testament being signed

What are the alternatives?

Living Wills have to be handled sensitively. An alternative is a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health & Welfare, although this can lack the detail and personal nature of a Living Will.

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