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What is a living will, and what is its purpose?


A living will is one of the most powerful legal tools available to residents of Texas who want to make sure that their wishes are followed should they become incapacitated. It’s important to know what it is and how it works.

What is a living will?

A living will is not a will that allows you to leave your property to an heir. Instead, it is a legal document that allows you to state what steps should or should not be taken if you are in a potentially life or death medical situation. It allows you to make clear the types of treatment you want and whether resuscitation efforts should not be made depending on the situation. The living will gives you the opportunity to make your wishes known when you are unable to verbalize them due to incapacity.

How does a living will become valid?

Your living will is only valid if it meets certain requirements. It must be notarized or witnessed when created or signed. You can also revoke it at any point. It goes into effect once you are no longer able to communicate wishes regarding your medical care.

What is included in a living will?

While a living will is considered a health care directive, it’s more than that. You can make it known how you want your medical care handled if you are terminally ill or in a vegetative state with or without hope for recovery. You can decide whether you wish to have palliative care, which aims to keep you comfortable and allows you to pass away at home. You can also declare in your living will that you wish to be an organ or tissue donor to help other people.

A living will even gives you the chance to state that you wish to donate your body to science. Whatever your wishes, they can be made in this legal document.