Living Will or Advance Directive

What is the difference between a living will and an advance directive? They are the same. They both are a document that you sign stating your wishes for use of life sustaining treatments. This only goes into place when you are can’t make decisions for yourself or have a terminal condition.

When does a Living Will go into effect? 48 hours after two doctors have certified that you are in a terminal state with your condition or you can no longer make decisions for yourself.

What information do I include in my Living Will? It is recommended to include the following:

  • Whether you want life sustaining measures taken
  • Feeding tubes with artificial nutrition and hydration
  • Mechanical breathing
  • If and when to start these treatments, and when to withdraw them
  • A list of people you want to be notified that these decisions are being made on your behalf
  • A list people who you authorize to talk to your doctor(s) about your condition and care. These people will not have authority to make any decisions, but they can be informed.
  • The Living Will is not an appropriate place for general medical directives when you are in relatively good health.

Do I need to use a lawyer to complete these forms? No you don’t. In Colorado you just need the form completed and it witnessed by two adult and competent witnesses. These witnesses cannot be your doctor, an employee at the doctor’s office, any employee at the facility or agency who is providing care, your creditors, or people who may inherit your money or property from you. Legacy Foundry has tools and resources to help you complete these forms too. The topics in these forms can be overwhelming, Legacy Foundry is here to help navigate these decisions. We also has resources to help you talk to your loved ones about these decisions.

Can I make changes to my completed Living Will? Yes, you can make changes and even cancel your living will at any time. You can simply destroy the document that was previous created. You can also sign a statement that you no longer want what was previously stated. You can also prepare a new document. If you do make changes or cancel your living will, we strongly encourage you to tell your doctor(s) and family of the changes. Again, Legacy Foundry has tools and resources to help you complete these documents and talk to your loved ones. Let us help.

Can my Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) make changes to my living will?  Yes, only if you have granted the authority to your MPOA, then your MPOA can make changes and override your Living Will. Your doctors, proxy decision maker, or guardian cannot override your Living Will. Reminder, a medical power of attorney is someone you have designated to make decisions about your medical care if you are not able to do so.

 

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