What is a Living Will?
A Living Will is an expression of how you would like to be cared for, where you would prefer to live, and what medical care you would like to receive (or to not receive) once you are no longer able to make or express those wishes yourself.
A Living Will is not entirely recognized in Ontario law as a legal document. Instead, it is treated as a set of guidelines which should be followed by those who are responsible for your care. For example, if you have appointed an attorney for personal care, that person is supposed to make and implement the decisions regarding your personal care in a way that you want done. The blessed way of making sure that this happens is to write your wishes down on paper. That’s what a Living Will is.
In a Living Will, you can specify whether or not you want heroic measures to be applied to revive you; how long you want medical intervention to sustain your life to continue; what kind of medical treatment is acceptable; and when to withdraw medical intervention or life-support.
You can even express your wishes concerning cremation or burial.
Why do I need a Living Will?
You need a Living Will in order to make sure that your wishes are followed. It’s the best way of creating evidence of what you want done and what you don’t want done. If you haven’t signed a living will, then the only evidence of your preferences is verbal, and if you are unable to confirm those wishes, people who don’t agree with them or were not told what you want, could challenge the attempts of your legal representatives or family to look after you or make arrangements for you in the way that you want.