According to Webster's Dictionary, a Living Will is a document in which the signer requests to be allowed to die rather than be kept alive by artificial means if disabled beyond a reasonable expectation of recovery.

According to Webster's Dictionary, an Advance Directive is a legal document (such as a living will) signed by a competent person to provide guidance for medical and health-care decisions (such as the termination of life support or organ donation) in the event the person becomes incompetent to make such decisions.

Advance Directives

Advance directives are legal documents by which individuals express their wishes in case they ever become incapable of making health care decisions for themselves. There are two types:

  • the Living Will (also called a Directive to Physicians)
  • and the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC).

The laws governing these documents permit the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, including food and fluids, even when the intent is to directly cause death. ...Read More

A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care document is a better option. In a DPAHC you specifically name a trusted family member or friend (“agent”) to make decisions for you if you are unable, either temporarily or permanently, to do so for yourself. Your agent will endeavor to make decisions in accord with your personal values and wishes. Your agent will make medical decisions based on your actual condition and treatment options, not guesswork.

The wording of a DPAHC is critically important. Also, it must comply with the laws in your state. It is recommended you execute a state-specific Protective Medical Decisions Document (PMDD) formulated by the Patients Rights Council (see links for their website). The PMDD gives your “agent” the authority to act on your behalf and take legal action, if necessary, to ensure your rights are protected. The PMDD clearly states your “agent” does not have the authority to approve the direct and intentional ending of your life. This limitation not only protects you, but also protects your “agent” from being subjected to pressure to authorize such actions.

National Right to Life has put together a document titeled "Will to Live" which is a pro-life version of the "Living Will".