Living Will Information
A Living Will, also known as a Personal Directive or Advance Directive, is a document that you use to define your personal health care wishes in the event of an emergency.
It allows you to name your preferences in relation to resuscitation and comfort care, as well as designate a personal agent to enforce your choices. LawDepot's Living Will may be used in all provinces and territories excluding Quebec and Nunavut.
Do I Need to Name a Personal Agent in my Living Will?
A personal agent is the person who will enforce your health care preferences should you become incapable of doing so yourself. In some provinces, if you do not select an agent, your Living Will can be given to your health care provider to follow.
When you name an agent, you have the option to either give them full authority or limited authority over your health care decisions. Full authority means that your agent may enforce all of your decisions and also make undocumented decisions on your behalf, inform people of your incapacitation, and more.
What is a Statement of Values and Beliefs?
A statement of values and beliefs is a non-binding personal statement given in a Living Will. It specifies your personal beliefs and morals that may be relevant to your health care, but it is not binding to doctors or health care providers.
The purpose of a statement of beliefs and values is to provide any extra information that may affect your treatment if you are hospitalized, such as your definition of quality of life or beliefs regarding specific treatments.
What is Incapacitation in a Living Will?
When a person becomes incapacitated, it means that they are either mentally or physically unable to act for themselves in terms of managing their affairs. Incapacitation can be caused by illness, age, or an accident, and may be temporary or permanent depending on the situation.
In your Living Will, you may select individuals of your choice to determine whether or not you are incapacitated.
You may also choose who you wish to inform in the event of your incapacitation, for example, a spouse or your children.
What Decisions Can I Make in a Living Will?
A Living Will allows you to make decisions for three different instances: terminal illness, persistent unconsciousness, and severe and permanent mental impairment. You will need to determine your preferences for:
- Life support;
- Tube feeding;
- CPR; and
- Intervening illness.
You may also list whether or not you would like to be on organ donor, if you have any feelings about specific treatments, and how symptoms, such as pain, should be controlled.
A Living Will also allows you to designate a temporary guardian for your children in the event of an emergency.