Advance Directives (also known as Living Wills) in Texas

An Advance Directive (aka Living Will) is used to advise your physician whether you want life-sustaining treatment if you have either (1) a terminal condition (expected to die within 6 months even if you receive treatment) or (2) an irreversible condition (may be kept alive indefinitely with treatment, but you are left unable to care for or make decisions for yourself), AND you are mentally incompentent or physically unable to communicate with your doctor. You may also make other directives in the document for things like, whether to administer pain medication, antibiotics, or artificial hydration.

If you have not executed an Advance Diretive and a decision about whether to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining treatment has to be made, then the attending physician and your legal guardian or agent under a medical power of attorney will work together to make the decision for you. If you do not have a legal guardian or an agent under a medical power of attorney, then the attending physician and one person from the following list (listed in priority) will make the decision that may include withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment: (1) spouse, (2) adult children, (3) patient’s parents, (4) nearest living relative. The decision should be made based on knowledge about what you would desire, if it is known to the individual involved.

I believe that executing a well thought out advance directive can be a gift to your loved ones because it takes the difficult decision to maintain or withdraw life-sustaining treatment out of their hands. You have already made the decision to maintain or withdraw treatment so that your loved ones do not have the burden and emotional expense that can result from making that kind of decision for someone they love.


Disclaimer: The information in this site is not comprehensive and should not be construed as legal advice. Further, reliance on any information contained in this website does not constitute the formation of an attorney-client relationship. You should seek the assistance of an experienced attorney for specific legal advice regarding your particular circumstances.


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