What is a living will or advance medical directive?
A living will is a document used to help you alert others to your wishes regarding life sustaining or life prolonging medical procedures in the event you suffer from an incurable injury, disease, or illness. A living will helps decrease uncertainty as to how you would like to be medically treated when you are unable to make decisions on your own.
In Virginia, the living will can be combined with the medical power of attorney to create one document called an advance medical directive. The advance medical directive has all the features of a living will, but it also grants an agent the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. Thus, this document both details to doctors and loved ones the types of medical treatment you wish to receive or deny, and it provides you the ability to appoint a trusted person to make those decisions for you if you cannot. While everyone should have an advance medical directive, individuals whose personal or religious beliefs prohibit certain medical treatment, such as blood transfusions or the withholding of food or water, are in particular need of an advance medical directive to ensure that doctors respect their wishes.
If you have any questions about advance medical directives or if you would like to have one drafted, please contact us today, and one of our knowledgeable attorneys will be happy to help you.