The creation of a
Living Will can be beneficial in determining how your life will
be handled should you become incapacitated and unable to make
decisions on your own. Please consult your loved ones and an
attorney for help with this important decision.
Anita Astorino Kulik
1350 5th Ave.
Coraopolis, PA 15108
Fax: (412) 269-2767
The PENNSYLVANIA LIVING WILL LAW
Information About: Health Care, Power of Attorneys, Living Wills
Pennsylvania has had
a living will law since 1992. In 2006, legislators improved and
clarified the law to include advance care planning.
living will law lets an individual name someone as his/her
health care power of attorney when he/she is unable to make
health care decisions for him/herself, as well as extends to
terminally ill adults and those with end-stage conditions the
right to death with dignity.
In deciding whether
to appoint a durable health care power of attorney or have a
living will, you probably will want to consult with one or more
of the following: your family, doctor, clergy and attorney.
- To execute an advance
health care directive, one must be: An individual of sound mind who is
18 or older, has graduated from high school, married, or is an emancipated
- The form must be signed
by the declarant, or by another on behalf of and at the direction of the
declarant, and must be witnessed by two people each of whom is 18 or older.
A witness cannot be the person who signed the form on behalf of an d at the
direction of the declarant.
- The law provides a legal
basis for one to declare his/her wishes for medical care and treatment in
advance for when he/she cannot understand, make or communicate decisions
about his/her medical care.
- An advance health care
directive is a written set of instructions expressing one's wishes for
medical treatment. It may contain a health care power of attorney, in
which a person you name makes health care decisions for you, and a living
will that details your choices on the level of life-sustaining treatment and
other specific instructions for your doctor.
- As stated in the law,
living wills are not intended to "condone, authorize or approve mercy
killing, euthanasia or assisted suicide." Those with living wills and health
care powers of attorney may revoke them at any time and in any manner to a
doctor or other health care provider or witness.
- The law prohibits
implementation of an advance health care directive for pregnant women if it
contains authorization to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining treatment.
Exceptions are if such treatment would: be physically harmful to the
woman, result in pain that could not be alleviated by medication or not
permit the continuing development and live birth of the unborn child.
- Copies of one's advance
health care directive should be given to one's health care agent, doctors,
family members and others who one might expect to be involved in your
medical care needs.
Combined Living Will & Health Care Power of Attorney
Example Form from
Pennsylvania Act 169 of 2006