Understanding more about Living Will
In the grand scheme of estate planning documents, a Living Will, or Advanced Healthcare Directive, is a fairly simple document that’s importance cannot be understated. A Living Will, while not technically a will, is a legal binding document stating one’s medical care and end-of-life preferences should they enter an irreversible, unconscious state or otherwise be unable to articulate their wishes or consent. There are multiple conditions that are laid out in a Living Will, all pertaining to having an irreversible, terminal condition where you will not be conscious at that time. For each stated scenario, you may choose whether you wish to be kept alive by artificial means, such as a feeding tube, or whether you want nature to take its natural course.
Under Oklahoma’s Rights of the Terminally Ill or Persistently Unconscious Act, any person may authorize the withdrawal of artificial life support. However, withdrawal of life support does not include pain relief or normal consumption of food and water. Thus, a Living Will is necessary to ensure that wishes are carried out.
In order to be valid, a Living Will must be signed before two witnesses and the Declarant must be
(1) at least 18 years of age
(2) of sound mind, and
(3) the Living Will must be in substantially the same form as Sec. 3103.4(B.
A Living Will can be revoked in whole at any time, in any manner and is effective upon communication to the physician. Further, a Living Will is valid in other states so long as it complies with Oklahoma law or is in compliance with the law of that state, so long as it doesn’t exceed the authorizations allowed under Oklahoma law.
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A Living Will functions as the Declarant’s voice in the worst-case situations where the Declarant cannot speak for themselves. It also spares the Declarant’s family from having to make life ending decisions and gives the Declarant the final say. In such a way, a Living Will can provide both you and your family peace of mind that, if that worst case scenario does ever become a reality, a plan is in place where your family can respect your wishes and you can spare them from having to make any decisions they may regret later. If a Living Will sounds like something you may want to pursue, give our team at South County Law Firm a call for a consultation today!