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A Living Will

A living will, sometimes called an "advance directive," is a document containing your wishes about your future health or personal care. You make a living will when you are able to understand treatment choices and appreciate their consequences (that is, when you are "capable"). A living will only takes effect when you can no longer understand and appreciate treatment choices (that is, when you are "incapable").

Living wills that meet certain technical legal requirements are also called "health care directives," "advance health care directives," "representation agreements," "mandates," "authorizations," "personal directives," and "powers of attorney for personal care," depending upon the province in which you live.

There are two parts to this living will: a proxy directive and an instruction directive. Because proxy and instruction directives are complementary, your living will should, if possible, contain both of these directives.

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