As you write out a list of your wishes for after death, you may wonder what a living will is.

By learning more about this document, you can fully appreciate the benefits of having one for your future.

What it is

A living will dictates what steps or measures medical professionals should use to take care of you if you are unresponsive for some reason. It can help spare you and your loved ones confusion or complicated situations.

Doctors could use a living will if you are in a coma or if you have another health problem. Typically, this document covers many situations, such as tube feeding in cases of unconsciousness, or even organ donation. Medical professionals may refer to it if you are in a persistent vegetative state.

Reasons for it

Considering the variety of medical issues you could run into, it helps to have decisions prepared for doctors who may inquire. If you are a competent legal adult, it may help relieve any anxiety you have about having to force others to make tough choices for you in the future. It also is proof of your wishes if anyone needs to refer to them.


The topic of discussing your own potential death can prevent many from beginning to write a living will. Some may even worry they are not properly aware of all the options out there in the case of a medical emergency.

However, a living will does not replace a regular will. Rather, it is another document that can help you clarify your wishes in a situation where you cannot speak for yourself.