Health-Care Directive (Living Will)

Health-Care Directive (Living Will)

A Health-Care Directive, also called a Living Will, is a document that tells your physician when to stop life-sustaining treatments and let you die naturally.

A Health-Care Directive is authorized by Washington state law and is used when:

  • you can no longer make your own decisions
  • you are terminally ill with no hope of recovery
  • the use of life-sustaining treatments would only prolong the dying process.

How to prepare a Health-Care Directive:

  1. Review a Health-Care Directive (Living Will)* (PDF). Discuss it with your family, physician, clergy or lawyer. Think about any special instructions you wish to include. Write or type these instructions and attach them to the form.
  2. Sign the Health-Care Directive in front of two witnesses who are not related to you and are not potential heirs. Your physician, the physician's employees and employees of your hospital or nursing home cannot be witnesses.
  3. Make copies of your Health-Care Directive for yourself, close family members and your lawyer, if you have one. Give your original Health-Care Directive to your physician. The directive needs to be in the medical record kept by your physician to make sure your wishes are followed.


* This Health-Care Directive (Living Will) is provided as a community service by Swedish Medical Center, which recommends independent legal counsel be sought for any specific legal ramifications of this document.

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