A living will is a legal instrument that tells those providing you with medical care when you want them to stop life-sustaining medical treatment and let you die.
A health care power of attorney allows someone you appoint to make medical-treatment decisions for you if you are no longer able to make them yourself. This publication contains general information and a Living Will form you may download.
The formality and extent of a living will is a combination of the manner in which the document is written, and which state it was written to be used within. Different states also have different laws concerning advanced directives. The State which you will likely be recieving medical care should be taken into account when writing an advanced directive.
Below are some resources pertaining to Advanced Directives in both Washington and Oregon. If you are in another state, you can find resources
Advanced Directive Resources for Washington Residents
Compassionate & Choices of Washington
A not-for-profit offering free of charge services to assists people with all aspects of end-of-life decision making including a well-formulated combined Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and Health Care Directive. You can find the most up to date documents on their website linked above.
Washington State Medical Association: Advanced Directives
the WSMA’s website offers an overview of Advanced Directives and many answers to frequently asked questions. They also provide free forms for Advanced Directives and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care.
Providence Health Care: Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
If your primary hospital or medical care would likely be provided by Providence Health Care, you may find their pamphlet helpful.
Filing and Registering your Advanced Directives
If you travel often or are are concerned that you may not be with your primary care provider in the event of an accident you can register your advanced directive and other medical declarations with the United States Living Will Registry.
The U.S. Living Will Registry is a secure, on-line database where you can store your advance directive. Your document can be easily accessed by you, or by health care providers anywhere. The USLWR provides labels to affix to your insurance card & driver’s license, stating that your advance directive is registered, and a wallet card listing your registration number.