Get advice, answers, and information

Should My Living Will Be Very Specific or Very General?

Though living wills can be very specific or very general, living Wills that are too general may not provide sufficient direction and serve only to create confusion and conflict between medical personnel, your health care agent, and your loved ones.


More specific living wills are preferred. These are shown to be most successful when they include informed, thoughtful reflection on your wishes and values supported by personal communication between you and your health care agent before a medical crisis occurs.


Recently, living wills have moved away from focusing on specific treatments and medical procedures to focus on patient values, personal goals, and health outcome states.


For example, a living will might:

  • Designate an agent to make care decisions

  • Dictate what kind of life support treatment that patient does or does not want

  • Discuss pain management, personal grooming and bathing instructions

  • Address how the patient wants to be treated, including religious, spiritual, and emotional support

  • Detail funeral or memorial plans