A document in which a person, in case of incapacitation, expresses in advance his or her wishes concerning the use of medical measures to prolong life. Typically living wills are used to reject extraordinary measures, such as intravenous feeding and mechanical respirators, when death appears imminent. The use of living wills was affirmed by a 1990 U.S. Supreme Court decision. Family members and medical personnel sometimes challenge a living will because of unclear or legally invalid instructions, concern over possible legal consequences, or the emotional difficulty involved in withholding treatment.

A living will is similar to a DNR order, but the latter can be performed by one's family members once one is incapacitated.

The first living will was made up by attorney Luis Kutner and members of the Euthanasia Society (now part of the organization Choice In Dying) in 1967. By 1972, the organization was distributing over 100,000 of their form per year. (Now many U.S. states have their own legal forms for advance directives of any kind, including living wills.

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