10 Steps to Creating a Living Will

Speaking with Doctors

We've gone over some of the resources you should consult when making a living will -- friends, family, people who have experienced severe illnesses, lawyers, and even legal Web sites. But your doctor can play a key role in discussions that lead to the creation of a living will. It is your doctor who can speak with you about what might be expected from a particular diagnosis, or how to alter your living will to reflect your changing medical condition.

Your doctor can also refer you to specialists or tell you if an ongoing treatment plan no longer seems viable. He or she can advise you on how to discuss these complex issues with your family. Some doctors even provide a form on which you can fill out the details of your living will.

For more information on living wills, end-of-life care and other related topics, take a look at the links below.

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More Great Links


  • AARP Washington. "Online Living Will Registry: Register Now for Peace of Mind." AARP. March 19, 2010 (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://www.aarp.org/technology/innovations/info-03-2010/online-living-will.html
  • ABA. "Consumer's Tool Kit for Health Care Advance Planning." (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://www.abanet.org/aging/toolkit/
  • American Bar Association. "Whom should I select as my agent or proxy for health decisions?" FindLaw. 2004. (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://public.findlaw.com/abaflg/flg-16-7g-11.html
  • Caring Info. "Storing Your Advance Directives." (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://www.caringinfo.org/index.cfm?page=817
  • Caring Info. "What to Do If Family Members Disagree." (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://www.caringinfo.org/PlanningAhead/AdvanceCarePlanning/WhatToDoIfFamilyMembersDisagree.htm
  • Caring Info. "How to Talk You're your Health Care Providers." (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://www.caringinfo.org/PlanningAhead/AdvanceCarePlanning/HowToTalkWithYourHealthcareProviders.htm
  • Chen, Pauline W. "Making Your Wishes Known at the End of Life." April 15, 2010. (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/16/health/15chen.html
  • Family Doctor. "Advance Directives and Do Not Resuscitate Orders." January 2009. (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/pat-advocacy/endoflife/003.html
  • FindLaw. "Sample Living Will Form." (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://estate.findlaw.com/estate-planning/living-wills/le23_9_1.html
  • Forestieri, Claudia. "Advance Directives." AARP. Summer 2009. (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://www.aarp.org/health/doctors-hospitals/info-07-2009/advance_directives.html
  • Public Agenda. "Right to Die." (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://www.publicagenda.org/articles/right-die
  • Silveira, Maria J; Kim, Scott Y.H.; Langa, Kenneth M. " Advance Directives and Outcomes of Surrogate Decision Making before Death." New England Journal of Medicine. April 1, 2010. (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsa0907901
  • Spitz, Sarah. "End of Life Care: Hospice and Palliative Choices." KCRW. Aug. 24, 2010. (Accessed 9/18/2010). http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/pc/pc100824end_of_life_care_hos


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