What is a living will in Texas?  What’s the difference between a living will and a last will and testament?

It’s unfortunate that this document is nicknamed a “living will” because it is nothing like a last will and testament.  A “living will” in Texas is a document that tells your doctor how you’d like to be treated in certain dire health situations.  Attorneys often (and more accurately) refer to these documents as a Physician’s Directive, Advance Physician’s Directive, or Advance Directives.

Without putting too fine a point on it, this is the pull-the-plug document.  Remember the Terry Schiavo issue that dominated news cycles a while back?  The Physician’s Directive tells your doctor if you would rather keep fighting or pass away comfortably when either, a) you are not expected to live much longer without life support or b) you won’t be able to make decisions and you’re on life support (like Schiavo).

Clearly, these are important and sensitive decisions.  Most of us have preferences on whether or not we want life support discontinued.  These preferences can be based on religion, upbringing, or cultural factors.  Regardless of the factors influencing these end of life preferences, family members are glad to know your preferences in writing.  I don’t think anyone wants to be the family member who tells the hospital to discontinue life support in the absence of a living will.  There could be stress, remorse and family tension.

So, the biggest reason you should have a living will is not for you.  It is for the benefit of the people calling the shots when you are in a dire medical situation and incapacitated.  A living will is not expensive for a lawyer to create for you.  In fact, hospitals may even have suitable forms available (doctors would rather know your end of life preferences, too).

Don’t confuse a living will with a DNR order (“do not resuscitate”); they are not the same thing.  I plan to discuss DNRs in a future post.

Shutt Law Firm offers living wills (aka “Advance Directives”) as part of the flat fee Wills PLUS Planning Package.  The Planning Package includes a Texas last will and testament, a living will, a declaration of guardian, a durable general power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, an anatomical gifts form, a HIPAA authorization form, and more.  This Texas estate planning package is basically an all-inclusive bundle of the documents most Texans would want.  You can take care of them all at one time and at one flat (and reasonable) cost.


Shutt Law Firm provides estate planning, Texas last wills, powers of attorney, Texas living wills, and other planning documents with set-rate prices.

Visit www.ShuttLawFirm.com for more information on Wills, avoiding probate, Texas trusts, estate planning, probate, alternatives to probate, and guardianship–or email ishutt@shuttlawfirm.com.  You can also call Mr. Shutt at (214) 302-8197 for more information on the topic discussed in this blog or to discuss a different legal matter.  Phone-calls and quick e-mails are always free at Shutt Law Firm PLLC.  Please consider the Shutt Law Firm if you’re looking for a Richardson lawyer for probate, Richardson wills lawyer, estate planning attorney in Richardson, power of attorney in Richarson, or guardianship attorney in Richardson area.

DISCLAIMER:  Nothing in this blog post constitutes legal advice.  The information provided herein is merely provided in the spirit of education.  If you have a legal question, you should consult an attorney for your specific legal situation.   Further, nothing in this blog shall be construed to have started an attorney-client relationship.  No such relationship exists until you sign an engagement letter with the Firm.