Living will


The living will is used when the applicant is in a delicate state of health and therefore requested before a judicial body that will draft a living will before it loses its powers both physical and mental and which are awarded to turn certain instructions about when the user in question dies.

What is a living will?

The living will is any document drawn up by a person suffering from a terminal illness for which they are convalescing . It is a document, in which the person who is close to death expresses the instructions to follow near or after it, such as the last care to have or what will be done with his body once it has died.

  • What does it consist of
  • Source
  • How to make a living will
  • Where to make a living will
  • Living will by country
  • Sample model

What does it consist of

When a person has a very delicate health condition , or is in his last moments , it is preferable that, long before he loses control or control of his faculties (physical and mental), a Living Will has been drawn up . This is the document where a person, shortly before these fateful moments, gives instructions regarding his medical care and / or the fate of his body once he has died .



It is a concept born in the United States (living will in its original language), in the second half of the 20th century , and from the hand of the Chicago lawyer Luis Kutner . In 1969, Kutner published a model of this document in an American law journal , in order to respect the wishes or last wishes of the patient who is in a situation of terminal illness . This model was defended by Kutner in order to consider the right to a dignified death .

How to make a living will

Various associations in the world have given recommendations to take into account when writing a Living Will . Depending on the interests of the person , in this document it can be said if they want medical treatment or not , and its validity would depend on the autonomous community where it is written and the procedures under which it is submitted. This means that the living will can be:

  • Registered in the administration of the autonomous community, so that medical personnel have access to it through, for example, a computer system.
  • Let it be signed by two or three witnesses . Depending on the region, this document may require that two of the witnesses have no ties of any kind to the convalescent. Once signed , the document can be presented physically to the medical staff .
  • It can be notarized , which is the option more quickly , but also implies a cost ; all other options are free .

Whichever method is chosen, the document must be submitted in writing and signed by the convalescent .

Where to make a living will

The living will can be drawn up in any space and with the participation of any person , depending on the modality with which it is to be formalized. In Spain , this document must be submitted to the Registry of Prior Instructions of the region where you reside.

Living will by country

Like any document, the characteristics of the Living Will may be influenced by the laws of the country where it is made. Next, we will show some cases such as those of Spain or Mexico :

Spain case

Since 2002, this document acquired a legal status in the Iberian country. Since then, thanks to the policies of promotion and awareness of the Living Will , for 2013 the number of cases where this document is registered exceed 100000 .

Mexico case

In relation to Mexico , even though the laws that govern the administration are not so different (apparently) from the Spanish model, it has been seen that only until 2013 just over 2000 citizens processed this document. The latter is thought to happen due to the little scope that promotion policies have managed to obtain in the Mexican population, apart from the possible prejudices existing within the imagination of the citizen of that country (confusing euthanasia with orthothanasia).

Sample model

Depending on the association and / or region where the Living Will is made , the models for its drafting can be extremely diverse. As an example, the model developed by the Federal Association for the Right to Die with Dignity will be presented :

“I _______________________ with ID _________ of legal age, residing at ________

In the fullness of my faculties, freely and after adequate reflection, I declare: That I do not wish for a dependent life in which I need the help of other people to carry out the “basic activities of daily life”, such as bathing, dressing, use the toilet, walk and feed myself.

What if I come to a situation in which I am not able to express myself personally about the care and treatment of my health as a result of a condition (such as brain damage, dementias, tumors, chronic or degenerative diseases, vegetative states, cerebrovascular accidents or any other serious and irreversible condition) that makes me irreversibly dependent on others and prevents me from expressing my clear and unequivocal will not to live in those circumstances, in order to die with dignity, my previous instructions are the following:

  1. Limitation of therapeutic effort: I do not want my life to be prolonged by artificial means, such as life support techniques, intravenous fluids, drugs (including antibiotics) or artificial feeding (nasogastric tube).
  2. Palliative care: I request adequate care at the end of life, that I be administered the drugs that alleviate my suffering, especially –even if it may shorten my life- terminal sedation, and that I be allowed to die in peace.
  3. If by then the legislation regulates the right to die with dignity through active euthanasia, it is my will to avoid all kinds of suffering and to die quickly and painlessly in accordance with the ad hoc lex artis.

In accordance with the Law, I designate as Representative __ / Three witnesses (if applicable) __ Signatures of all of them and the signatory “

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