To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.

Living Will

Table of Contents


A living will, also called a declaration, tells your family and doctor your wishes when you can't speak for yourself. It's used to describe treatment you want as you near the end of your life or if you get seriously hurt or ill. You can change or cancel your living will at any time.

How a living will is used

Keep these facts in mind about how a living will is used.

What to know about a living will

A living will is a legal document. Each state has its own laws about living wills. And a living will may be called something else in your state.

Here are some things to know about living wills.

Questions to ask yourself

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you make your living will.

What to do with your living will

Credits for Living Will

Current as of: June 16, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Anne C. Poinier MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Jean S. Kutner MD, MSPH - Geriatric Medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine
Robin L. Fainsinger MBChB, LMCC, CCFP - Palliative Medicine

Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

© 1995-2023 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.