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Offered by: Michael A. Dolan – Dolan & Associates, P.C.

A Living Will has nothing to do with living and is not a will. A Living Will provides specific guidance and direction to the medical community regarding what you want to happen in two very narrow circumstances. It does not give someone the right to make a decision for you. It’s you, making the decision today, regarding a possible event in the future.

A Living Will provides specific direction in the following situations: First, when you have a Terminal Condition and you are unable to effectively communicate decisions; Second, when you are in a Persistent Vegetative State. The law provides specific definitions for these conditions.

Your Living Will should provide direction for each of these specific circumstances. It should include direction to continue or discontinue Life-Sustaining Procedures. A Life-Sustaining Procedure is a medical procedure that would serve only to prolong the dying process, and does not include anything necessary to alleviate your pain.

If you choose to discontinue Life-Sustaining Procedures, your Living Will should also include directions to continue or discontinue receiving Artificial Nutrition. If you choose to discontinue Artificial Nutrition, your Living Will should also include directions to continue or discontinue receiving hydration.

If you have an existing Living Will that was signed before 2011, you should update it to reflect the new law and definitions. Remember, these are important decisions that should not be trusted to a preprinted form. If you make a mistake on the form, the medical community may be unable to interpret your decisions and your wishes may not be fulfilled.

If you provide clear direction in advance for these unfortunate circumstances, you can relieve your family of the guilt of making hard and sometimes heartbreaking decisions.

A Living Will is just one piece of a comprehensive estate plan. If you would like to learn more about available estate planning options, visit: to sign up for a complimentary online educational workshop.

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