Living Wills in Pennsylvania
There is a PDF document entitled “Understanding Advance Directives for Health Care” . In it, “there is no law in Pennsylvania that guarantees your medical providers will follow your instructions in all circumstances.”
You must declare your intentions by means of either an advance directive or by designating another person with your Power of Attorney for Health Care. In Pennsylvania, the term “living will” is used as a more “plain language” term for the advance directive for Health Care. Legally, only Advance Directives for Health Care have been defined, at 20 PaCSA §5401 through 5416.
Any Advance Directive for Health Care, Living Will of Power of Attorney for Health Care must be signed and dated by the person to whom the document refers, known as the “principal.” No document is valid unless and until the signature is made.
There are no generic forms for Power of Attorney or Advance Directives. Dunlap-Hanna Pennsylvania Forms, at R347.93 DUN, located in the alcove outside the Gates Lab in the southwest corner of the Reading Room, have a variety of Advance Directive for Health Care forms at §66.01 and Power of Attorney forms at §69.01, 69.03, and 69.06 of Volume 7, Forms of Wills and Trust Agreements.
The Advance Directive for Health Care takes effective when it has been signed and dated, and a copy given to the doctor in charge of the care where it is anticipated such a directive would be necessary. In most cases, this would be the primary care physician or a physician to whom the patient has been referred.
An example of the Advance Directive for Health Care statutory form is available on page five and six of the “Understanding Advance Directives for Health Care” document
There is a Court Self-Help Center of Lancaster County brochure on How to File Certain Types of Actions in the Register of Wills Office. This document was revised in January, 2009.
NOTE: The above information is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice or representation. Consult an attorney if you have questions about how this information relates to your specific situation or circumstance.