Helping Seniors & Families
Plan For Their Future
Feasterville, PA
215.396.1001
Doylestown, PA
215.345.5858

Living Wills

Modern advancements in medicine have made it possible for us to live longer than ever before.  While these advancements have substantially extended our lives, such an extension may not be desirable because it may lower our quality of life and result in a loss of our dignity.  Since all competent adults have the right to make their own medical decisions, you may want to tell your doctor now not to take heroic or extraordinary means to prolong your life in the future if you become ill and  there is no hope for your eventual recovery.  You can do this by preparing a living will.

A living will is a legal document in which you direct your doctor to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment, whose only purpose is to prolong your dying process, if you are in an end-stage medical condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness. 

You can prepare a living will if you are of sound mind and are at least 18 years of age, or have graduated from high school, or are married.  You must sign your living will in the presence of two witnesses who are both at least 18 years of age.

You can refuse all medical treatment including but not limited to cardiac resuscitation, artificial feeding, blood, kidney dialysis, antibiotics, surgery, diagnostic tests, and mechanical respiration.  You can, however, direct  your doctor to administer only treatment that will keep you comfortable and alleviate your pain.

Also in your living will, you can designate another individual, known as your surrogate, to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself.

Your living will becomes operative when you or another individual provides a copy of it to your doctor, and your doctor determines you to be incompetent and in a terminal condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness.  At that time, your doctor has to act in accordance with the instructions outlined in your living will.  If your doctor cannot in good conscious follow the instructions in your living will, your doctor must inform you or your surrogate of this fact.  At that time, your doctor is required to assist you in finding another doctor who will comply with the instructions in your living will.

A living will lets you to decide now what medical treatment you want  in the future if you become incompetent and are in an end-stage medical condition or a state of permanent unconsciousness.  Failure to prepare a living will may cause increased stress on your loved ones who are left to decide the proper medical treatment for you.