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Living will checklist

Make it Legal™ Checklist

Here are a few important steps to take to finish your document

Read the living will carefully to make sure it meets your needs. This document will be legally enforceable if you are suffering exactly in the way you have described and you have lost the mental capacity to communicate your wishes to your health care professionals.

It is a very important document that could dictate the end of your life. Be sure that it meets your particular needs and make sure that you have discussed it with your doctor and your family. Remember that if you have any questions you can easily Ask a lawyer.

You should also Ask a lawyer if you are unable to physically sign your living will. It is still possible for you to complete a living will but a different clause will need to be added at this point depending upon your individual circumstances.

  1. Print a copy of the living will. You cannot sign online. Do not sign or date it yet.

  2. If during the interview you indicated that you have discussed this living will with your GP you will find a Schedule attached at the end of the document which is the GP’s confirmation that they have discussed the living will and its implications with you. Your GP needs to sign and date the confirmation before you sign.

  3. You need two different witnesses to witness the living will. Each witness must have mental capacity and should:

    1. not be under the age of 18

    2. not be a family member

    3. not benefit from your death (ie inherit something from you under your will or the intestacy provisions).

  4. After your GP has signed the Schedule you should date the living will in longhand where the document says "This advance decision has been executed on..." and sign with your normal signature on the line over your name in front of your witnesses.

  5. The witnesses must then sign with their normal signature on the line beside the words "Witness signature" and then add their names, addresses and their relationship to you (ie doctor, health care worker, friend etc.) This helps to find your witnesses if anyone should challenge in the future that your living will was not witnessed properly.

  • Provide everyone who needs to know your wishes with a copy of the signed living will, ie your doctor, health care workers and your family.

  • Make a copy for yourself and store the original safely away.

  • Note that the law enables a living will to be challenged in the event that there is reasonable belief that you may have changed your mind. This could be due to medical advances, changes in your own situation or because the document was written a long time ago.

  • Review your living will regularly. The signature spaces near the bottom of the document allow for this living will to be reviewed twice.

  • After reviewing your wishes date the living will next to "Reviewed and confirmed on..." and sign it again in front of a witness who should also sign it next to the words "Witness signature". It doesn't have to be one of the witnesses who originally signed but your witness should still be over 18, have mental capacity, be unrelated to you and not benefit from your death.

  • You should provide your health professionals and your family with a copy of the reviewed living will.

  • Don't forget, you can change your mind whilst you have mental capacity and revoke (cancel) this living will at any time by destroying the original (and making a new one should you wish). Again, if you do revoke it, remember to tell your health professionals and your family.

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