In New York an individual who is mentally capable of understanding the document can sign a living will, also known as an advanced directive. An individual can make specific health care decisions before the need for medical care arises. A living will allows doctors to know what you would prefer for healthcare when you cannot speak for yourself. In cases where a patient is unconscious, or is too sick to make decisions medical providers can use the directions in a living will to manage a patient’s care.
Sample Living Will Language
A sample living will includes language such as the following:
I direct that treatment be limited to measures to keep me comfortable and to relieve pain, including any pain that might occur by withholding or withdrawing treatment. While I understand that I am not legally required to be specific about future treatments, if I am in the condition(s) described above, [unconscious, mental incapacity] I feel especially strong about the following forms of treatment.
- I do not want cardiac resuscitation.
- I do not want mechanical respiration.
- I do not want tube feeding.
- I do not want antibiotics.
- I do want maximum pain relief.
- Other instructions (insert personal instructions):
A living will can be written any way an individual chooses. There may be measures you want doctors to take and others you don’t. Creating an individual living will is the goal. Doctors are required to take all possible measures to save a life and a living will gives them the authority to respect a patient’s wishes over their duty to use all possible measures.
Getting Legal Help
There are free general living will forms available at the New York Bar Association website (www.nysba.org). If you want to personalize your living will, experienced Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney can draft a living will and health care proxy to fit your particular needs.
Call us today at 973-841-5111.
Posted in: New York Estate Planning