Five Wishes Living Will
Advance Directives: A Necessity for Those Nearing the End of Life’s Journey
Coping with terminal illness is a challenging endeavor. Not only does an unfavorable prognosis present spiritual and emotional challenges, but logistical ones too. For patients and their loved ones, end-of-life preparation can be so overwhelming that sometimes the most important conversations are neglected until it’s too late.
Understanding a loved one’s end-of-life wishes is a mutual gift. For patients in a vulnerable stage of life, the ability to convey their desires is a rare and meaningful opportunity. Meanwhile, knowing a loved one’s final wishes eliminates the guesswork when faced with difficult choices. 1-800-LAW-FIRM is proudly offering Five Wishes as a free resource to help facilitate the difficult, but necessary conversations that terminally ill patients need to have with those they love.
What is Five Wishes?
Five Wishes is an advance healthcare directive designed to facilitate end-of-life conversations and decisions among terminally ill patients and their loved ones. It’s an 11-page living will that encompasses the legal, medical, physical and spiritual aspects of end-of-life preparation. Five Wishes not only catalyzes end-of-life conversations, it makes it easier for terminally ill patients to express their wants to caregivers and loved ones.
The following prompts are included in the Five Wishes living will:
- The person I want to make care decisions for me when I can’t
- The kind of medical treatment I want or don’t
- How comfortable I want to be
- How I want people to treat me
- What I want my loved ones to know
As America’s most popular living will, Five Wishes has been used by more than 25 million people to express their end-of-life desires on paper. It meets the legal requirements as a living will in 42 states and Washington DC. For the 8 states in which Five Wishes does not meet the technical requirements as a living will, supplementary forms are available.
Who Should Use Five Wishes?
Five Wishes may be used by anyone 18 years or older. Though anyone can use an advance directive, the prompts and questions in Five Wishes are geared specifically towards individuals facing a fatal diagnosis or on hospice care. You do not need to be related to someone to request Five Wishes on their behalf.
How to Use Five Wishes
The Five Wishes living will is easy to use and understand. If you are requesting Five Wishes for yourself, simply go through the questions and write down your answers. When you are done, you will need to sign it and get a witness statement. Share your Five Wishes with your loved ones and caregivers, and keep in a safe place where they can easily access it.
If you are requesting Five Wishes on your loved one’s behalf, you can offer to assist them by reading the prompts aloud and filling out their answers if they are unable. Assure your loved one that you can stop at any time if they are uncomfortable, or would prefer to answer some later. Because it can be a difficult subject to broach, some find it helpful to offer the use of safe words such as “skip” or “stop.”
When going through Five Wishes for yourself or a loved one, keep in mind that you don’t have to complete it in one sitting. It may be helpful to give your loved one time to consider the questions before answering them.
Five Wishes in Your State
If you live in the District of Columbia or one of the 42 states listed below, you can use Five Wishes and have peace of mind to know that it substantially meets your state’s requirements:
If you live in Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Texas or Utah, supplemental legal forms are available to ensure that your end-of-life wishes will be honored.
Replacing Your Current Advance Directive with Five Wishes
If your loved one has an existing durable power of attorney or health care living will, it can be replaced with Five Wishes. After Five Wishes is filled out and signed, it removes any previous advance directive. To ensure that the correct advance directive is adhered to, these steps should be taken:
- Destroy all copies of the previous advance directive or simply write “revoked” in large writing across the copy
- Inform any lawyer that helped prepare the previous forms to ensure they are aware of the new directive
- Inform the selected health care agent, family members and medical professionals about the newly signed and completed Five Wishes living will
Request Your Free Five Wishes
1-800-LAW-FIRM is proud to offer Five Wishes for free by request – there is no commitment. To request yours, simply complete the form on this page or call 1-800-LAW-FIRM (1-800-529-3476) to order by phone.
We are confident that you will find Five Wishes to be of significant value to you and your family during some of life’s most difficult times.