Living Will FAQs: Common Questions Answered for Washington DC Residents

A living will serves as a critical document outlining an individual’s healthcare preferences in Washington DC. Often, individuals have questions about the specifics of living wills and how they function within the legal landscape of the district. This article aims to address common queries regarding living wills, providing clarity for Washington DC residents.

What is a Living Will?

A living will, also known as an advance directive, is a legal document that allows individuals to outline their preferences for medical treatment in the event they become incapacitated and unable to communicate. It provides guidance to healthcare providers and family members regarding the types of medical interventions the individual desires or wishes to avoid.

Frequently Asked Questions About Living Wills

What does a living will typically cover?

A living will typically covers preferences regarding life-sustaining treatments such as resuscitation, mechanical ventilation, artificial nutrition, and hydration. It allows individuals to specify their wishes for end-of-life care and medical interventions.

How is a living will different from a traditional will?

While a traditional will addresses the distribution of assets after death, a living will focuses on healthcare preferences and medical decision-making during life. Both documents are essential components of comprehensive estate planning but serve different purposes.

Do I need a lawyer to create a living will?

While it’s possible to create a living will without a lawyer, consulting with a probate attorney can ensure that the document complies with Washington DC laws and accurately reflects your wishes. An attorney can provide guidance on legal requirements and help address any questions or concerns.

Can I change or revoke my living will?

Yes, individuals have the right to change or revoke their living will at any time, as long as they have the capacity to do so. Changes or revocations should be documented in writing and communicated to healthcare providers, family members, and appointed healthcare agents.

Who should I appoint as my healthcare agent?

When creating a living will, individuals may appoint a healthcare agent, also known as a healthcare proxy or surrogate, to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are unable to do so. The chosen healthcare agent should be someone trusted and willing to advocate for the individual’s healthcare preferences.


Living wills play a crucial role in healthcare decision-making for Washington DC residents, providing clarity and guidance in times of incapacity. By understanding the purpose and function of living wills and addressing common questions and concerns, individuals can ensure that their healthcare preferences are respected and that their wishes are honored. If you have further questions about living wills or need assistance with estate planning in Washington DC, don’t hesitate to consult with our experienced probate law team. We’re here to provide the support and guidance you need to navigate the complexities of estate planning and healthcare decision-making.