When will my living will, or parts of my living will, not apply?

Two Limitations on Living Will Provisions in CT

A living will is a document that any person above the age of 18 and of sound mind and body can sign that lets them choose how they are medically treated after permanent incapacity and during the final stages of their life. However, there are two times that Connecticut Statutes do not let your living will provisions apply.

Living Will Not Effective While Pregnant

CGS Section 19a-574 states that the right to have a living will and other healthcare directives “shall not apply to a pregnant patient.” This would make sense as not only is there more than one life involved. Perhaps the living will was written before the pregnancy occurred and the person wouldn’t want it to be honored if they were pregnant…but even if they had language specifically stating they want the living will honored even if the patient is pregnant, the medical staff would not and could not honor those wishes.

Medical Professionals as Health Care Representatives

It might seem like a good idea to choose a medical professional as your health care representative. After all, they are trained professionals!

However, CGS Section 19a-576 does not allow patients to select their attending physician, or the operator, adminstrator or employee of a hospital, residential care home or nursing home that the patient is admitted to, from also acting as that patients health care representative.

The idea here is to protect the individual from undue influence from the staff members that should be caring for them, to eliminate any conflict of interest in the mind of the medical professional between their patient and their employer, and to remove the responsibility of such decisions being questioned by the family if made by an interested medical professional.

Drafting a Living Will

If you decided to operate on yourself instead of going to a doctor, you wouldn’t expect the best result. Same goes for drafting of estate plans and documents such as a living will. There are many pitfalls to drafting and the proper execution that if not known, could lead to part or all of an estate planning document, such as a living will or will, from being unenforceable. And since that only gets figured out once something has already happened, there is usually no time or opportunity to fix the problem. Hire a trained legal professional and know that your wishes are legally enforceable and will be respected.