Q&A: How to get started on a living will

October 17, 2008

A friend has suggested that I create a living will. How do I get started?

Q: A friend has suggested that I create a living will. How do I get started?

A: The purpose of a living will is to ensure that your wishes are followed if you're incapacitated and unable to make decisions for yourself. A living will essentially acts as your decision-maker. It lists what medical procedures you will and will not allow to be performed on you if doctors say you have no prospects for recovery. It can be as general or specific as you like. For example, if a tragedy leaves you in a persistent vegetative state, you might object to being hooked up to a ventilator or feeding tube. Before you draw up a living will, talk the situation over with your family. Once you're ready to start, you can easily find any number of online guides to writing a living will via a web search. An attorney familiar with your state's estate planning laws would likely be the most help.