Sophisticated Woman Magazine - July 2019

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is different from a Last Will

and Testament. While a Last Will and Testament provides direction for distributing an estate upon someone’s passing, a “Living Will” serves as the legal document that memorializes your intent for requesting or refusing medical treatment that artificially prolongs life if: 1) you have a terminal, irreversible condition, and 2) you can no longer make medical decisions for yourself. More specifically, the Living Will only becomes effective under Louisiana law, La R.S. 40:1151.2, when: 1) two physicians have personally examined you and confirmed the terminal, irreversible condition, and 2) the physicians further confirm that death will occur, whether or not life-sustaining procedures are utilized and where the application of life-sustaining procedures would serve only to artificially prolong the dying process. Thus, the Living Will does not become triggered in the event of a medical emergency and the Living Will is not equivalent to a “Do Not Resuscitate Order.” A Living Will can also be drafted to trump a healthcare power of attorney, so that your wishes are met without your healthcare agent having to also make end-of-life medical decisions. A Living Will can also be drafted to specifically address your intent to donate organs. Ultimately, an executed Living Will may relieve your loved ones from making a very difficult decision, and it may alleviate conflict among loved one’s with different opinions on administering or withholding further medical treatment. Once your Living Will is complete, you should


keep it in a safe place with your other important documents. And if you wish, you can also place a copy on file with your primary care physician or you may register it with the Louisiana Secretary of State’s end of life registry.

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26 Sophisticated Woman | July 2019

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