LIVING WILL (ADVANCE DIRECTIVE)

Make your health care wishes known

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A living will lets you specify decisions about artificial life support in advance. It not only ensures your wishes will be heard, but also protects your loved ones from having to make these difficult, deeply personal choices for you.

With a LegalZoom Living Will, you get:

  • Personalized Living Will / Advance Directive
    A personalized living will specific to your state
  • Living Will and Free Health Care Power of Attorney
    A free health care power of attorney
  • Living Will $50,000 Guarantee
    Our $50,000 Peace of Mind Guarantee

Common questions

Who can create a living will?

Generally, anyone who is at least 18 years old and of sound mind can create a living will. In this context, "sound mind" usually means the ability to understand what the living will is, what it contains, and what it does.

When does a living will take effect?

Your living will takes effect when your doctors determine that you are seriously ill. Those circumstances also vary by state law. They include being in an irreversible coma or being terminally ill with no reasonable chance of recovery, and can't make decisions for yourself.

If you prepared a health care power of attorney, it takes effect when your doctors determine that you are unable to make health care decisions on your own.

How will my doctor decide that I can't make decisions for myself?

This varies from state to state, but doctors tend to evaluate the following types of factors in determining whether or not you can make decisions for yourself:

  • Whether you can understand what the doctor is telling you and the consequences of any decision you make;
  • Whether you can make a decision based on the doctor's information; and
  • Whether you can tell your doctor what you've decided. This doesn't have to be verbal communication. Any expression of your desires will be sufficient (including a nod or other acknowledgment).

After your doctor has made this determination, most states require this decision be explained in writing before any medical treatment decision can be made.

Sample documents

View sample documents

Your final forms, documents and filings may differ depending on your state.

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