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What is a Living Will?

Also known as a Health Care Directive or a Personal Care Directive , a Living Will outlines your wishes about medical treatment in the event of a serious life-threatening injury or illness. A Living Will can be made with or without the assistance of a lawyer and is made legal once it is signed, dated and witnessed.

When creating a Living Will be sure to:

  • Discuss all your options with your family physician. They will be better able to advise you of what conditions would warrant the following of a living will.
  • Verbally tell your family and friends about the Living Will. This will help them when the time comes and they will remember you telling them about your wishes.
  • Decide who you want to speak on your behalf and get their permission.
  • Write your living will yourself or seek help from a lawyer.
  • Provide copies of your living will to your family members, lawyer, family physician and the person who will be acting on your behalf.

If a disease such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia , which impacts one’s mental ability, affects your parent, they may be unable to make decisions for themselves. Consequently, someone, usually a family member or members will have to take over that responsibility. This is done with a Power of Attorney (POA) .


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