First, lets get some verbiage out of the way. A Living Will is also known as an Advanced Medical Directive. Or it could also be known as a Declaration as to Medical or Surgical Treatment.
Regardless of the name, the function is the same. They act as your pre-determined decision, that if you are on life support without chance of recovery, you wish to be removed from life prolonging procedures and devices after a period of X days. Within the document you can also make decisions as to specifically what types of life prolonging procedures would would like, what types of pain or other medical treatment as well as the number of days.
Keep in mind, that this document is used while you are in an incapacitated state and can not make theses decisions at the time. The function and effect of the Living Will is much different than a Do Not Resuscitate, or DNR
, which states that even if you are not on life prolonging devices or in a coma yet, you do not want CPR or other medical treatment to bring you back from your condition.