Living Will

You may be more familiar with the term Living Will than Health Care Proxy, as it is more commonly used in other states. In New York, a Living Will is used as evidence of the individual’s wishes regarding life sustaining treatment when in a terminal condition. It is in addition to – not in place of – a Health Care Proxy, as the Proxy names the agent to actually carry out your wishes.

A Living Will is helpful in avoiding the risk of litigation when a hospital is reluctant to suspend treatment of a terminally ill patient. The individual should state in the document whether he or she wants all measures possible taken to extend life, or if they are opposed to extraordinary means to extend life. A statement can also be included regarding one’s wishes concerning pain management.

A copy of the Living Will should always be given to the agent appointed under the Health Care Proxy, so that the agent knows the individual’s wishes.  

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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. I invite you to contact me and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting me does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information until an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Robert W. Shaw is licensed in New York.