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UNDERSTANDING THE LIVING WILL

A “living will” is designed for those who are concerned with the quality of life when death is near. It is a written statement of your wishes to the people who are most likely to have control over your care, such as your family and your doctor. In order to ensure that your wishes are carried out, you should have a copy of the living will where it can be accessed quickly (in your wallet or purse, for example). Also give a copy to your spouse and to your family doctor. You should review your living will wishes from time to time, and make changes if necessary.

The purpose of a living will is to convey your wishes in the event that there is no reasonable expectation of recovery from physical or mental disability. If you so specify, you will be allowed to die naturally, with dignity, and not kept alive by artificial means or “heroic medical measures.” A living will is merely an expression of your wishes and is not legally binding upon your doctor or the hospital in charge of your care in Canada. However, some provinces, such as Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba, have legislation on the issue of living wills–they all officially endorse the concept, if your written instructions are correctly done. Check on the current legislation in your province.

To obtain a sample living will with an instructional booklet and/or videotape, in Canada, contact:

Centre for Bioethics
University of Toronto
88 College Street
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1L4
Tel: (416) 978-2709
Website: www.utoronto.ca/jcb

The cost of a living will booklet is $5, or $24.95 for 2 booklets and a videotape. You can also obtain information from their website.

Copyright © 2017 , Douglas Gray, LL.B. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of the material contained in this website is strictly prohibited. E&OE (Errors and Omissions Excepted). Please refer to Copyright and Disclaimer at bottom of website page. Refer to Books section for related information.

 

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