What is a Living Will?
A living will--also known as a Health Care Directive in Washington-- ensures that your medical wishes are honored in the event of an emergency or if you become incapacitated (unable to think and act for yourself).  It is a written document directed to your health care provider that outlines how you wish to be cared for.  For example, you can dictate whether you want to be resuscitated and can outline end of life treatments you do and do not wish to receive.  A living will should be  as specific as possible.  However, despite your best efforts, it is impossible for a living will to anticipate every possibility.  This is why a durable power of attorney is important.  This document names an “agent,” or a trusted person whom you authorize to figuratively step into your shoes and make health care decisions on your behalf.