A Living Will (also known as a “medical directive” or an “advanced directive”) is a written statement providing an individual’s specific instructions regarding medical treatment in certain circumstances where he or she cannot competently make such decisions for himself or herself.
Under a properly drafted Living Will, the individual may include specific instructions regarding what medical treatments the person may want or refuse. A Living Will can provide guidance to agents appointed under a health care proxy and medical professionals regarding a person’s desires with respect to medical treatment in the event he or she cannot make such decisions.
Unlike health care proxies, there is no statutory authority in New York for Living Wills. As such, without an accompanying health care proxy, the Living Will has no legal effect in New York. Thusly, effective estate planning includes trusts, wills, health care proxies, and it warranted, a power of attorney.