Living Wills

  1. Question: What is a living will?

    Answer: A living will is a written document signed by a competent adult stating what their wishes or instructions are concerning medical treatment that they would wish to accept or refuse.

  2. Question: What are the limitations of a living will?

    Answer: There is no law authorizing competent adults to execute living wills in michigan. This does not mean that living wills are invalid.

    Note that if you wish to rely upon a living will, the language within the living will must contain "clear and convincing evidence" of your wishes under the circumstances which you could be in before life sustaining medical treatment may be withheld or withdrawn.

    If a living will speaks only in general terms such as a person does not want heroic measures taken, then it is doubtful that the person would have life sustaining medical treatment withheld or withdrawn from them.

    It is better to have a medical durable power of attorney than a living will.

    It is better still to have your wishes concerning your care expressed in your medical durable power of attorney such as what treatments you would want or not want if you were in a situation where you were unable to make medical decisions.

    Another limitation on a stand alone living will is that it does not appoint an agent to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so.

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