Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics

Advance Directives & Living Wills

Learn more to protect your life and the lives of your family members

The WILL TO LIVE document:

  • Is a legally binding pro-life alternative to traditional Living Wills that you can sign.
  • Names someone to make health care decisions for you (your “heath care agent’) if you develop a condition that makes it impossible for you to speak for yourself (you become “incompetent”).
  • Makes clear (in the form of written instructions to your health care agent) what medical treatment you wish to receive if you can no longer speak for yourself.

When you are unable to speak for yourself the WILL TO LIVE document:

  • Names someone you trust (your “health care agent”) to safeguard your life when you cannot speak for yourself.
  • Names backup agents if your first choice of “health care agent” can’t serve.
  • Guides your health care agent and physicians by describing the treatment you do and do not want.
  • Protects your family and health care agent from pressure from health care providers and others by allowing them to prove your wishes.
  • Makes your wishes clear to relieve the agony of decision-making by your physicians and health care agent.

After you complete your WILL TO LIVE:

  • Make copies for yourself, your health care agent and backup agents.
  • Place your copy where it will be easy to find. Keep a copy on your person if possible.
  • Make sure your health care agent and backup agent receive their copies.
  • Let family members know you have a completed will to live and where you keep/have distributed copies.