What Does A Living Will Accomplish?
A health care Power of Attorney names someone you trust to act as your Agent or decision-maker should you become unable to make or communicate your own decisions.
A Living Will applies when you are in a coma, doctors don’t believe you will come out of it, you are on life support, you have a feeding tube and IV fluid. You indicate whether you want to authorize your agent to sign the waivers and releases to withdraw life support, and whether you want the feeding tube and/or IV fluid removed if you are able to breathe once life support is withdrawn.
Sunny Von Bulow died after almost 28 years in a coma. Avoiding such situations is the purpose of authorizing your Agent to withdraw food and water.
As your lawyer, I will not only draft a Living Will according to your wishes, but I will also register it along with your medical Power of Attorney through the U.S. Living Will Registry.
You will receive a card for your wallet with your Power of Attorney agent’s telephone number on it, as well as a code for easy on-line access of your documents.
Living Will Registry
Below are samples of the card you will receive for your wallet when you complete the US Living Will Registry form and I mail it in for you. Your health care agent’s phone number will be on the card as well as a code for medical providers to access the PDF Power of Attorney for Health Decisions and Living Will. Keep the card behind your driver’s license.
See a Sample Living Will Below:
HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE TO PHYSICIANS
(AKA LIVING WILL) OF
Pursuant to RCW § 70.122 (Natural Death Act), I, JOHN DOE (BORN 02-11-1979), having the capacity to make health care decisions, having appointed my spouse, JANE DOE (BORN 07/19/1971), and then BOB JONES, IN THAT ORDER, as my Health care Agent, do willfully and voluntarily make known my desire that my dying shall not be artificially prolonged under circumstances set forth below, and do hereby declare that: I expressly revoke all prior health care directives I may have previously made.
A Health Care Agent will NEVER be allowed to authorize “mercy killing,” also known as “euthanasia.”
This document is distinct from the Washington Death With Dignity Act (RCW § 70.245) which allows terminally ill adult Washington residents themselves, who have less than six months to live, to request lethal doses of medication from physicians. This document authorizes action by health care agents.
The appointment of my spouse is revoked as of the date of filing upon filing of a petition for dissolution.
Pursuant to RCW § 11.125.040, this Power of Attorney shall not be affected by disability of the Principal.
Pursuant to RCW § 11.122.120, “Any person or health facility may assume that a directive complies with this chapter and is valid.”
(a) If at any time I should be diagnosed in writing to be in a terminal condition by the attending physician, or in a permanent unconscious condition by two physicians, and where the application of life-sustaining treatment would serve only to artificially prolong the process of my dying, I direct that such treatment be withheld or withdrawn, and that I be permitted to die naturally.
I understand by using this form that a terminal condition means an incurable and irreversible condition caused by injury, disease, or illness, that would within reasonable medical judgment cause death within a reasonable period of time in accordance with accepted medical standards, and where the application of life-sustaining treatment would serve only to prolong the process of dying.
I further understand in using this form that a permanent unconscious condition means an incurable and irreversible condition in which I am medically assessed within reasonable medical judgment as having no reasonable probability of recovery from an irreversible coma or a persistent vegetative state.
When life-sustaining treatment is withheld, I would like comfort care to be continued as necessary to reasonably minimize or reduce discomfort.
(b) In the absence of my ability to give directions regarding the use of such life-sustaining treatment, it is my intention that this directive shall be honored by my family and physician(s) as the final expression of my legal right to refuse medical or surgical treatment and I accept the consequences of such refusal. If another person is appointed to make these decisions for me, whether through a durable power of attorney or otherwise, I request that the person is guided by this directive and any other clear expressions of my desires.
(c) If I am diagnosed to be in a terminal condition or in a permanent unconscious condition:
Withholding or withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration may result in death by starvation or dehydration. Circle “Yes” if you want or circle “No” if you do not want to receive or continue receiving artificial nutrition Yes or No and/or hydration Yes or No after all other treatment is withheld. Initials ______
(d) I understand the full import of this directive and I am emotionally and mentally capable to make the health care decisions contained in this directive.
(e) I understand that before I sign this directive, I can add to or delete from or otherwise change the wording of this directive and that I may add to or delete from this directive at any time and that any changes shall be consistent with Washington state law or federal constitutional law to be legally valid.
(f) It is my wish that every part of this directive be fully implemented. If for any reason any part is held invalid it is my wish that the remainder of my directive be implemented.
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Mulvaney Law Offices, PLLC, is located in Bellevue, Washington, representing estate planning & probate, chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy, and real estate transactions clients in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Bellevue, Redmond, Renton, Issaquah, Sammamish, Maple Valley, Burien, SeaTac, and throughout King, Snohomish and Pierce counties.