LIVING WILL: Definition, Requirements, Templates (+How to Write Guide)

Living Will
Image Credit: AZ Statewide Paralegal

When you hear of Living will, I believe what comes to your mind is a document you use to pass on a property for your loved ones when you die. Yes, it’s absolutely true! a living will is often confused with a will. This article will give you a clear definition, requirements, templates, and a concise guide on how to write a living will. In a nutshell, opting for a living will brings peace of mind to you and to your loved ones because it explains what kind of medical care you want to receive when you are incapacitated.

What is Living Will?

Firstly, as earlier mentioned above, it is not the document you use to leave a property for your loved ones, by naming an executor, or a guardian for your children. Also as the name implies, it is not a static document. Just as your life and health status are subject to change, so will this document be. This document describes the kind of health care you want to receive if you are incapacitated. Sometimes It is often associated with a power of attorney for health care, which you will have to name an agent to make health care decisions on your behalf.

Similarly, you can also define a living will as a written legal document or advance directive that spells out medical treatments you would and would not want to keep you alive, as well as your preferences for other medical decisions. These pain management can be pain management, terminal illness, organ donation as well as life-threatening injury.

However, in the absence of a living will, decisions about medical care would become the responsibility of the spouse, family members, or other parties. Although they might not be unaware of the patient’s desires.

A living will only become effective when one faces a life-threatening condition. And in this state they are unable to communicate their desires for treatment. Besides doctors do not have to consult the wills for standard medical care that doesn’t involve life-threatening situations.

Read Also: LIVING TRUST VS WILL: Best option in the US (+Major differences)

The Essence of a Living Will

Below are some essentials you should make out a living will

#1. It Protects you when you no Longer Communicate

This protects you in a future situation when you can no longer communicate your wishes. It makes the medical professionals in charge of treating you take charge of what happens to you once you are in a state in which you cannot communicate what you want to be done. This way of taking decisions out of their hands.

#2.  Prevents arguments between family members

It prevents major arguments between family members if the decision is not up to the medical professionals in charge. Your family members decide how you will be treated. However, If they disagree on what should be done with you it can cause long relationship arguments between members of your family. Although I believe you would not want such arguments to happen.

#3.  It reduces potentially unwanted medical bills for your family

There are many people who would rather die than live an additional unhealthy year on life-support. This is because if they are on life support it will rack up medical bills in which their family will have to pay later. Therefore, If you don’t specify this in your living will, your family will end up paying insurmountable medical bills.

How do you Write a Living Will?

Since the requirements for a living will vary by state so many people hire a lawyer to prepare or write their living will.

You should create your living will base on the rules of your location. If you spend a lot of time in more than one state, you should double-check to make sure your will is valid in your second state as well. Most states do accept living wills from other states as long as the document is valid in the state in which it was created, so it is important to check when your living will is created. Here are few steps on how to write a living will.

  • Speak with a doctor
  • Make a draft of your intentions (in accordance with the state law)
  • Choose a health care proxy
  • State your health care wishes
  • keep them safe in a file
  • Make copies of the signed advance directive to your medical professional

Living Will Cost

An effective way of creating a living will in a cost-effective way, is by getting a form at your local hospital notarized it at your bank for about $9 or $13 although it varies from state to state

Moreover, you can hire a lawyer but if you are hiring a lawyer to help you put together these documents for yourself and your spouse, expect to pay more dollars in legal fees. This depends on the complexity of your financial status.

Living Will Template

A living will template are comprehensive form that provides you a space to list the names of your physicians as well as emergency contacts. Here you provide specific situations relating to your wishes for medical care in the event you become incapacitated.

Howbeit, some states would provide drafting the document, while others require you to fill out a standardized form. Below is the sample of a living will template.

living will
Image Credit: Sample Templates (Living Will)

The living will template is a legal directive form that guides a person who wants to make a future medical care upon their incapacitated. This document is very useful, especially in times when you’re unable to communicate your wishes.

Living Will Requirements

The requirements for living will vary depending on your location. To some extent, there are also some standard, general requirements for living wills that apply across the board. In some cases, this document is also referred to as a directive or a healthcare directive. All states have a slightly different procedure for living wills and different requirements about this important legal document. Note: This legal document requires two witnesses and a notary.

Additionally, listed below are other requirements fitting the general category.

#1. Purpose

A living will’s purpose provides instructions that rise to the level of being legally binding to medical professionals in preferences.

#2. Capacity

This entails that a party must be an emancipated adult in a court to make a living will. They should be of sound mind during the execution of the living will. Where these conditions are not met, the party lacks a testamentary capacity.

#3. Content

Some state laws mandate what the living will contain. The living will should be concise. Also, state laws require specific text or terms to be used in the living will such as “withdrawing of life support.”

#4. Signature

The party creating the living will is required to sign the legal document. This signature must occur in the presence of two witnesses. Conversely, some states mandate that the signatory of the witnesses must be the maker of the will’s spouse or other family members. Thereafter, the maker of the living will is expected to give a copy of the signed living will to their doctor.

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In summary, with pieces of information contained in the text, I know you have learned a lot. Thereby, you would not want to end up allowing a third party have control of your family on what happens to you when you are incapacitated. A living will give you the ease of mind because they help you in preventing future crises or arguments within your family members. Anyways if you find difficulty on how to write a living will consult a health care power of attorney, or medical power of attorney,


The information in this article was obtained from various sources and are for informational purpose. While is is believed reliable and accurate, we do not also warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. As earlier mentioned, we urge you to consult an expert or health care agent

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