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When is a Living Will Effective?
What exactly is a living will? To begin with, it is a legal document used by any person to specify and make known his wishes with regards to possible life-prolonging medical procedures and treatments in case of unexpected events. Some people prefer to call it as a healthcare directive, an advance directive, and a physicianís directive. In any way, the living will should not in any way be confused with a last testament and a living trust.
The two concepts are involved in holding and distribution of a personís possessions or assets in case of inevitable life threatening instances. Experts assert the importance of living will: it informs healthcare providers and the family about a personís desires for specific medical procedures and treatments in case that person suddenly becomes unable to speak or decide for himself.
In general, a living will could describe specific life prolonging treatments. The declaring person could clearly and particularly indicate which specific treatments he does or does not want to be applied in case he suffers from a terminal diseases or he becomes permanently vegetative. There are of course many ethical, religious, and technical issues that are raised in accordance to the nature and scope of any living will.
When does a living will take effect? The document is only effective when the person becomes incapacitated. He should not be able to decide or say what treatments he wants or not wants. Normally, in such instances, it is the family who takes the burden of decision. But people who want to spare their family from making such difficult task decide to pre-empt any medical decision through having a living will. Before the living will is implemented, there must be a necessary and appropriate certification from a doctor that the person is truly suffering from a terminal condition or that he is permanently unconscious.
Thus, if the person suffers from a heart attack, the living will is not yet implemented because the condition is not possibly terminal. He could still recover and decide clearly for himself. Unconsciousness in such a condition is also not permanent yet. The person could still be resuscitated, despite terms in a living will that he does not want to undergo life prolonging procedures. In other words, the medical professionals could still proceed to their main goal of saving the personís life or instantly reviving him. The living will would only take effect if in case ultimate recovery gets hopeless.
In situations when the person is unable to speak for himself but his health condition is not that dire, the living will still does not take effect. In such a case, there could be a health care proxy or a health care power of attorney. In such an event, the attorney gets the full authority to decide for the patient. The decision could also be legally transferred to a family member or a close friend who is supposed to know exactly what the person wants medically.
Many people dislike the idea of being that person because the burden of deciding for oneís life is instantly transferred.
Living Will Articles
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Advance Medical Directives: The Living Will
Difference between a Living Will, a Will, and a Living Trust
Tips for Living Will Creation
Living Will: Planning for End-of-Life Issues
What is the Difference Between a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney?
Frequently Asked Questions about Living Will
Specific Medical Treatments Involved in Living Will
Differences of a Living Will and Trust
What is a Living Will?
Living Will Forms: How To Deal With Them
Steps to Creating a Living Will
What is the Purpose of a Living Will?
Living Will: An Overview
Contents Of A Living Will
Selecting your Health Care Proxies in Living Wills
How to Create Your Own Living Will
Organ Donation on Your Living Will
The Benefits of Using a Living Will Software
More Than Just a Living Will
The Fundamentals Of A Living Will
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The Benefits Of A Living Will: A Rundown
Guidelines In Making A Living Will