Your “living will” is your directive expressed in writing as to how you are to be treated by your health care providers if you are diagnosed as having an irreversible medical condition with no reasonable expectation for recovery. In such situation, you can elect to “pull the plug.”
In California, your living will provisions are typically placed in a form document known as an Advance Health Care Directive. In addition to containing your living will, such Directive also serves the following purposes:
(1) By it you appoint (give a health care power of attorney to) a health care “agent” (typically your spouse or your child) to make health care decisions on your behalf, should you become unable (such as being in a coma following a vehicle accident). It should be a “durable” power, so that it will remain operative should you become mentally incompetent.
(2) By it you can indicate whether or not you wish, following your death, to donate any organs or other body parts, and for what purpose(s).
(3) By it you can state whether, on death, you want bodily burial or cremation and any related details.