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What is a living will?

In Connecticut, the law allows you to use a document to express how you would like to be cared for if you subsequently become incapacitated. The document is known as a Living Will. A regular Will deals with property and guardianship. A Living Will is a separate document which addresses your wishes regarding your health care. The Living Will is used to say what you want done if you have an incurable or irreversible medical condition which will result in your death in a relatively short time. Whether you want a Living Will depends upon your beliefs, sensibilities and personal experiences.

Many times a patient is asked when going into the hospital if he or she has a Living Will. It is better to think about such sensitive issues long before a trip to the hospital occurs.

Any person who is at least 18 years old can make a Living Will, giving directions as to the specific life support systems which the person chooses to have administered. The Living Will gives directions to your medical providers if you are incapacitated to the point where you can no longer actively take part in the health decisions for your own life.

Living Wills deal with several life support systems. The life support systems you need to consider are artificial respiration; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and feeding tubes. The law permits you to direct that your passing not be unreasonably prolonged by artificial or mechanical means, but of course, it is illegal for there to be any direct taking of life.

A Living Will is not effective unless it is signed properly in front of two witnesses. Be wary of any preprinted forms; the forms may not create a proper document for you to use in Connecticut. Obtaining sound legal advice in preparing your Living Will can help ensure that your wishes are carried out, and that your beliefs are respected by health care providers.

DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. See competent counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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