last update 1-06-06
LOUISIANA'S LIVING WILL
You've come to terms with your decision. You're one of the many
Americans who has decided that you don't want your life to be artificially
prolonged if you have a terminal and irreversible illness, or if you are in
a continual comatose state with no chance of recovery. With the ethics out
of the way, now what do you do?
Living wills is a mis-nomer. They are not related to "Living" but rather
give instructions to your family that you want to die with dignity if you
are ever in a position that does not provide hope of recovering. A living
will provides instructions about your medical treatment if you become
terminally ill whereas a regular will provides instructions as to what you
want to happen with your property and assets.
A living will can be executed by a person and simply witnessed by two people
who will not inherit anything from the person when they decease. It does NOT
need to be notarized.
The law recognizes that all persons have the fundamental right to control the
decisions relating to their own medical care, including the decision to have
life-sustaining procedures withheld or withdrawn in instances where such
persons are diagnosed as having a terminal and irreversible condition.
Based on the above, the law provides that a declaration setting forth such
decisions, normally referred to as a living will, will be recognized. Some
of the provisions of the statute relating to the declaration are:
--1 A Louisiana health care provider cannot be held liable, either
civilly or criminally, if he acts in accordance with this statement of intent.
--2 Once you have executed your living will, you can have it registered
at the Secretary of State's office. However, this is not required and the
living will is still valid even if it is not registered.
--3 If you later decide that you don't want the provisions you have set
out in your living will, you can revoke it without regard for your mental
state or capacity at that time, by defacing it, tearing it, burning it, or
by a written revocation expressing your intent to revoke it, or by an oral or
nonverbal expression of the intent to revoke the declaration.
--4 If a terminally ill and incompetent person has had a curator
appointed for him, the curator has the power to execute a living will for
--5 Louisiana law now provides that Louisiana will honor the living
will of a person who now lives in Louisiana but whose living will was drawn
up while living in another state.
The statute provides a simple form that anyone can use to execute a
declaration. A copy follows:
In addition to completing the proposed form, a form can be completed
upon obtaining or renewing a Louisiana driver's license and the fact that a
living will has been made will be imprinted on the license. The form would
be kept with the drivers license records.
Source: LSA RS 40:1299.58.1 et seq
Example of a Living Will
STATE OF LOUISIANA
PARISH OF EAST BATON ROUGE
DECLARATION CONCERNING LIFE-SUSTAINING PROCEDURES
Declaration made this day of , 2005
I, *client* , being of sound mind, willfully and voluntarily make
known my desire that my dying shall not be artificially prolonged under
the circumstances set forth below and do hereby declare:
If at any time I should have an incurable injury, disease, or illness,
or be in a continual profound comatose state with no reasonable chance of
recovery certified to be a terminal and irreversible condition by two
physicians who have personally examined me, one of whom shall be my
attending physician, and the physicians have determined that my death will
occur whether or not life-sustaining procedures are utilized and where the
application of life-sustaining procedures would serve only to prolong
artificially the dying process, I direct
____That all life-sustaining procedures, including nutrition and
hyrdration, be withheld or withdrawn so that food and water will not be
____That life-sustaining procedures, except nutrition and
hydration, be withheld or withdrawn so that food and water can be
I further direct that I be permitted to die naturally with only the
administration of medication or the performance of any medical procedure
deemed necessary to provide me with comfort care.
In the absence of my ability to give directions regarding the use of
such life-sustaining procedures, it is my intention that this declaration shall
be honored by my family and physician(s) as the final expression of my
legal right to refuse medical or surgical treatment and accept the
consequences from such refusal.
In accordance with the definitions in LRS 1299.58.2, the following
terms have the meaning ascribed by statute:
Life-sustaining procedure means any medical procedure or
intervention which, within reasonable medical judgment, would serve only
ot prolong the dying process for a person diagnosed as having a terminal
and irreversible condition, including such procedures as the invasive
administration of nutrition and hydration and the administration of
cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The term shall not include any measure
deemed necessary to provide comfort care.
Terminal and irreversible condition means a continual profound
comatose state with no reasonable chance of recovery or a condition
caused by injury, disease, or illness which, within reasonable medical
judgment, would produce death and for which the application of life-
sustaining procedures would serve only to postpone the moment of death.
I authorize *poa* , to make treatment decisions on my behalf
should I be (1) diagnosed as suffering from a terminal condition and
(2) comatose, incompetent or otherwise mentally or physically incapable
of communication. I have discussed my desires concerning terminal care
with this person, and I trust his/her judgment on my behalf. I understand
that if I have not filled in any name in this clause, my declaration will
nevertheless be given effect should the appropriate circumstances arise.
I understand the full import of this declaration and I am emotionally
and mentally competent to make this declaration. I am a resident of the
City of Baton Rouge, Parish of East Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana.
The declarant has been personally known to me and I believe him
or her to be of sound mind.
======================== WARNING =======================
This information is provided for the reader's benefit in
becoming familiar with the legal matters discussed. Your
particular facts may be different from the points above.
You should not rely on the above data without consulting a
attorney to discuss the specific facts of your case
and the law of your state.
If you live in Louisiana and want to talk about your situation, please
call me at:
Marvin E. Owen
3036 Brakley Drive
Baton Rouge, La 70816
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