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How can I establish a living will?

In Ohio, you can establish a living will using a standard form. This type of form is available from various organizations and written by the Ohio State Bar Association. The OSBA specifies that you do not have to use this form, but that any living will must be stated using language from the Ohio Revised Code to be valid. Most doctors and health care facilities will also have living will forms that you can use.

A living will is used to dictate the use of life support and life-saving measures in a situation where your condition is terminal or permanent should you become unable to communicate your wishes directly to medical personnel. It can state that measures should or should not be used. The determination to not use life-saving measures or support, if this is what you have specified, must be made by two different doctors. The doctors must agree your condition is terminal. However, you should be aware that you can also create a living will that states you want any and all measures to be taken to try to save your life.

You will name a representative in your living will, but neither your family nor your representative has to be consulted in order for doctors to follow the directions you have outlined in the document. In some cases, your family or representative may disagree with your living will and choose to challenge it in court. The court is rather strict about this, though, and will honor it if it is found to be legally valid. 

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