Thompson Law Group, P.C.

What is a living will and is it important?

There are many estate planning considerations that Pennsylvanians must be concerned with and fully understand. Some like wills, trusts and probate might be relatively easy to understand. Others, like a living will and a power of attorney, are more complicated. These are aspects that people frequently ignore. It is a mistake to do so. A living will or a healthcare power of attorney allow another person to make decisions for the person's medical care if he or she is incapacitated.

Without a living will, the decision-making authority will go to a family member or a spouse. If there is no written document, the person's wishes might not be followed. Copies of the living will should be provided to family members and the person's doctor. It can be given to others if that is desired. Another copy should be kept in a location where it is safe and can be accessed if the person cannot make decisions for him or herself.

There are certain requirements for a living will. The person must be a legal adult age 18 or older and of sound mind; the document must be signed and dated; and there must be two others who witness the document being signed - they must be 18 or older. It does not have to be notarized, but it is wise to have this done. A living will can be altered at any time by the person. The old one should be destroyed and others should be notified that changes were made.

Many people are not aware of the need for a living will until circumstances arise in which it is vital to have one. It is generally believed that estate planning is limited to taking steps to protect assets at the time of death, but a living will is also an essential document. Speaking to an attorney who is experienced in all aspects of creating a comprehensive estate plan can help with this and any other issue.

Source:, "Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney in Pennsylvania," accessed on Aug. 1, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Contact The Firm

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

email us for a response

Warrendale Office
Main Office
125 Warrendale-Bayne Road
Suite 200
Warrendale, PA 15086

Phone: 724-799-8404
Warrendale Law Office Map

Greensburg Office
101 North Main Street, Suite 104-A
Greenburg, PA 15601

Phone: 724-832-3500
Map & Directions

Canonsburg Office
Satellite Office
2400 Ansys Drive
Canonsburg, PA 15317

Phone: 724-799-8404
Map & Directions

Pittsburgh Office
Downtown Pittsburgh
500 Grant Street, Suite 2900
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-823-8080
Map & Directions

Monroeville/Wilkins Township Office
Satellite Office
Building 1, 201 Penn Center Blvd., Suite 400
Pittsburgh, PA 15235

Phone: 412-823-8080
Map & Directions

Erie Office
1001 State Street
Suite 1400
Erie, PA 16501

Phone: 814-451-1125
Map & Directions