What is a directive to physicians or living will?
This is an instrument that allows you to declare, in the event your death is deemed imminent by a physician due to disease, illness, or accident, that you do not wish to have your life prolonged by artificial means. This is accomplished by either withholding or withdrawing life sustaining procedures.
Are physicians legally bound to honor such directives?
Yes. If your physician chooses not to honor such directive, he or she is legally bound to find you a physician that will do so.
Can I change my mind if I have made such a declaration?
Absolutely. It is a simple matter to cancel a directive to physicians.
Can I prepare the directive myself?
Although there is nothing in law that forbids a person from making their own directive, we recommend you consult an attorney for the drafting of such document.
Who should know about such declaration and where should I keep the original document?
It is a good practice to discuss with and send a copy of such document to your physician(s) as well as any family member who might be in a representative position for you, i.e., the person named as executor in your will. This will assure your intentions are carried out in the event the directive is needed to be used. The original document should be kept in a fire-proof place, such as a lock box or safety deposit box. Just be sure your financial representative (executor) is able to gain access to such document if it is needed.