What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is your written formalized instructions on what to do should you require extraordinary medical treatment, such as mechanical life support or heart resuscitation.
In Canada, anyone can make a Living Will
A Living Will is simply a formalized statement of your health care wishes, signed and propely witnessed. Your Living Will is binding, under the Health Care Act, on any medical practitioners who are aware of the statement. However, please note that the issue of legal validity of Living Wills is still not completely resolved.
Why You Should Make Certain You Have a Living Will
- You may become incapacitated suddenly by an accident, a stroke, or a serious heart attack
- You have a need or desire to state your wishes regarding medical care, the termination of treatment, in the event the time comes when you are not able to make these decisions regarding your medical care.
- You currently have poor physical health, a chronic illness or a terminal disease.
- You are facing pending surgery or hospitalization
- You work in a high risk occupation.
- You do not wish to be kept alive by articifial life support systems.
- You do not want to be resuscitated if your heart fails.
- Where there is no reasonable expectation of your recovery from physical or mental disability.
It's Very Easy to Make Your Own Living Will:
If you do not have a Living Will, you may find that strangers are making decisions about your medical care and controlling your life against your own or your families wishes.
Create your own Living Will with this straight forward kit.
Each kit includes:
You do not need any legal training or experience.
- Official pre-printed Living Will form
- Instructions on how to complete your Living Will
A living will and a durable power of attorney for healthcare can ensure that healthcare decisions will stay in the hands of trusted people that you choose.
There are two components to a living will. The first is a written statement you make directly to medical personnel that details the type of care you want (or donít want) if you become incapacitated. You can use this statement to say as much or as little as you wish about the kind of healthcare you want to receive.
The second is a document called the power of attorney. This document appoints someone you trust to see that doctors and other healthcare providers give you the type of care you wish to receive. The person who has this power of attorney may be your spouse or partner, relative or close friend.
Keep in mind that this person may have to fight to assert your wishes in the face of a stubborn medical establishment, and against the wishes of family members who may be driven by their own beliefs and interests, rather than yours. If you foresee the possibility of conflict in enforcing your wishes, be sure to choose someone who is strong willed and assertive.
The proximity of the person with your power of attorney can be critical. If you have a long illness this person may be called upon to spend weeks or even months nearby, making sure medical personnel abide by your wishes for healthcare.
If you have not planned ahead the decision making power passes to a family member or relative, sometimes a close friend, the attending doctor, or a court appointed guardian.
Alternatively, a Public Trustee may be called upon to make independent estate decisions.