A living will is a document that provides instructions for your care in the event of a terminal condition. This condition may be the result of an incurable injury, disease or illness, and death is imminent without life-prolonging procedures.
Competent adults have the right to control the decisions related to their medical care, including life-prolonging procedures. The living will serves as the final expression of your right to refuse treatment and accept the consequences of the refusal.
The living will directs withholding or withdrawing of procedures that artificially sustain vital functions and prolong the dying process. It is your request for permission to die naturally with only the provision of appropriate pain easing medication and comfort care. In addition, when making a living will, you have a choice about whether you want to have artificially supplied nutrition and hydration. You can also elect to have your healthcare representative or your attorney make this determination for you.
Execution of a Living Will
You may execute a living will if you are 18 years of age or older.
The living will must be:
- In writing
- Signed by you or another person in your presence
and at your expressed direction
- Signed in the presence of two or more competent witnesses who are at least 18 years of age
A living witness may not be:
- The person who signed the living will on your behalf
- Your parent, spouse or child
- Entitled to any part of your estate
- Financially responsible for your medical care
You should notify your physician about the living will. Your physician will then place a copy of it in your medical record. Legally, the living will does not obligate your physician to withhold or withdraw life-prolonging procedures. However, the living will is evidence of your desires and will be given great weight in determining your intent if you are unable to give directions regarding your care. A living will is not in effect during a pregnancy.
Revocation of a Living Will
You may revoke your living will at any time by:
- A signed, dated, written document
- Physical cancellation or destruction of a living will by you or another person in your presence and at your direction
- An oral expression of intent to revoke the living will
The revocation is effective when it is communicated to your physician.
The following is approved by the Indiana Code:
4101 Living Will Declaration.pdf
Living will form in Spanish