A living will is a legal document that allows patients to provide healthcare providers with an outline of their wishes in the event they become incapacitated and unable to communicate their wishes themselves. The document often contains a provision for a person to be designated as healthcare power of attorney. This individual can speak on the patient’s behalf if he or she cannot do so.
Kentucky has specific living will laws as outlined in the Kentucky Living Will Directive Act. These are some of the highlights of this important law.
In Kentucky, a valid living will must have four components:
Living wills are revocable in the same way that traditional wills are. Methods of revocation include:
Revocation is effective immediately. This action overrides any previous written healthcare directives.
It’s worth noting that healthcare providers may follow living wills or advance directives created outside of Kentucky, so long as those directives are consistent with generally accepted medical practices. If a doctor cannot follow the instructions of the living will, he or she must inform the patient and the family, and cannot impede transferring the patient to a healthcare facility or doctor who can comply with the instructions.