The concept of living wills may not be very clear to a number of people. Some may even equate it with the "last will and testament", which is a totally different type of legal document. In point of fact, a living will is more analogous to a "power of attorney".
Its primary purpose is to make it possible for you – the maker or owner – to formulate decisions in advance with regard to medical treatment or life support, and lawfully command the health care team to carry out your wishes in that regard.
Because of the presence of numerous advances in the field of medicine and health care, doctors are now capable of sustaining life – even if it means being in a permanently vegetative condition. This is one of the reasons why living wills have become such a necessity.
Not all people actually like the idea of remaining in an almost lifeless state for an indefinite period of time. More often than not, the notion of extending life even when death is just round the corner seems excruciating for both the family and the patient. It's like one way of prolonging the suffering.
A living will makes it possible for you to decide whether life-sustaining measures and medical treatment should be continued or withheld. The directive may also include the refusal to take artificial feeding. Aside from that, you may even express other specific wishes before you become incapacitated to make decisions for your health care.
In order for the living will to be legally binding, the appropriate form must be utilized and it must be accomplished in conformity with the state laws on the subject of living wills. A number of states require the presence and signatures of two valid witnesses, the attendance of a Notary Public, or both.