In the living Will section of my advance directive, should I simply list procedures I refuse while incapacitated or is it better to go into detail?

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In the living Will section of my advance directive, should I simply list procedures I refuse while incapacitated or is it better to go into detail?

In my AMD, I want to specify certain surgeries I do not want performed on me under any circumstances while incapacitated/unconscious. One living Will form I looked at lets me specify (in chart form) what treatments to withhold while I’m incapacitated (the options include surgery). However, other websites tell me that the Living Will allows me to talk about my values, my moral convictions, etc. Should I simply list what treatments I refuse, or is it a better strategy to elaborate & to explain why I refuse specific procedures especially if moral/ spiritual issues are involved?

Asked on October 3, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, it is best in ANY legal document to be specific and direct, so that there are no questions that need to be brought before a Judge to interpret.  I see no problem with being brief as to your moral convictions.  But if that portion is going to have to be interpreted by others in order to determine what you do and do not want done then you are really leaving the decisions up to some one or some others rather than having made the decision yourself ahead of time.  I would speak with an attorney that does estate planning to make sure that the forms you are reading on line comply with your state law as well.  It is wise of you to think ahead.  Good luck.


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