Guide to Kentucky living wills
Anyone 18 or older is allowed to create a living will in the state of Kentucky. This document creates instructions to be followed if you are terminally ill or injured or in a state of permanent unconsciousness and are unable to express your wishes. The state provides a living will form that can be modified at your discretion, though the basic format will stay the same.
The first part of this document allows you to appoint a Health Care Surrogate, meaning someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf should you be unable to. This section is optional. If you choose to fill out both parts, your surrogate is required to follow your wishes as expressed in the living will.
In the first part of the living will, you should choose:
• Whether you do or do not want to be kept alive without the hope of recovery through the use of artificial respiration and other “life-support” methods
• Whether you do or do not want to be kept alive without the hope of recovery through intravenous food and liquids
Some may choose to ignore this section, instead completing the section just below authorizing their surrogate with all decisions about life support and intravenous nutrition.
Some people may not find this document’s standardized form detailed enough. You may customize the form to specify:
• What treatments you would consider too burdensome to justify
• Your expectations for a reasonable quality of life
• Any religious preferences or rites you want observed in connection with the end of your life
• Specify in detail exactly which procedures are acceptable, and for how long
You may wish to ask an attorney to assist you if you decide to write your own living will. It is advisable to consult with a doctor about any medical specifics you do not understand. You are not required to fill out all parts of the living will.
Below this, you may authorize the donation of any or all of your applicable organs. The form must have the signature of a notary public or two witnesses, neither of whom can be:
• A blood relative
• A heir
• An employee of any health care facility charged with taking care of the person creating the living will
• Any doctor involved in treatment of the patient
• Anyone financially responsible for the health care of the person creating the document
A living will can be revoked or replaced at any time by a person in sound mental health. If you choose to do so, destroy all previous living wills to avoid future confusion. It is the responsibility of the patient to make sure their physician is informed of the living will’s existence. If you are admitted to a hospital, they should be presented with a copy of the living will when you check in to ensure that your instructions are followed. Some people may wish to carry a living will on their person at all times in case of emergency.