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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.


Compliments of
State Representative
Anita Astorino Kulik
45th Legislative District

Coraopolis Office:
1350 5th Ave.
Coraopolis, PA 15108
(412) 264-4260
Fax: (412) 269-2767


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.

Pennsylvania's 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 minor.
  • 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

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