What is a Living Will in Ohio?

Most American’s do not have a living will. This can cause many problems including family strife. A living will prevent this from happening and assures that your wishes are followed by.

While most people think that a living will is only needed by the elderly, that is not actually the case. A very good example of where a young person needed a living will is the Terry Schiavo case. This young lady was in an accident that left her in a vegetative state and for 15 years there was court battles about keeping her alive.

Health Related Decisions

A living will is a legal document that states how you want or if you want artificial life sustaining support if you become permanently unconscious or terminally ill according to the Ohio State Bar association. Your living will can state if you are to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). According to the Ohio State Bar association, if two or more doctors agree that you are terminally ill, you can direct your doctor to write a do not resuscitate order.

A living will is not effective when you can still communicate your wishes to physicians or your family. A living will can be changed or revoked at any time up until your incapacitation and at that point the living will becomes irrevocable.

If you do have a living will that states you do not want to be hooked up to life support equipment, you will still receive pain medication, oxygen, medical care and spoon feeding. According to the Ohio State Bar association, your doctor is required to give comfort care as long as he or she believes to be medically appropriate.

In Ohio, a living will exceeds in authority a health care power of attorney. A living will is very limited in scope while a health care power of attorney gives your proxy a considerable amount of power.

A health care power of attorney gives powers to another person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. The person who you appoint to this position should be someone you trust greatly.

Getting it Right

While you can draft a living will by yourself, an attorney on the other hand will know and understand Ohio State law and how it applies to your situation. If you are doing it on your own you will need to research Ohio State law on living will’s and healthcare power of attorney's. There is specific language that is required in living wills and health care power of attorneys that is mentioned in the Ohio code.

Attorney Joe Budde has the experience to help you draft this document and these decisions in place. Make sure your loved ones and your health care proxy know of your living will, healthcare power of attorney and other wishes about life prolonging medical choices. Also, you should make sure that the documents are kept in a safe place and that your family and your health care proxy know where they are located and copies given to your lawyer and physician.