Most people have thought about their inevitable death. They’ve also considered the potential of becoming brain-dead, finding themselves in need of major organ transplants, or otherwise becoming seriously physically or mentally damaged. In all three of these instances, the affected, injured persons would be subject to intensive medical care. Some people simply wouldn’t want to live if they lost their mental faculties, physical capabilities, or needed extensive life support to survive.

Information. Living wills, also known as directives to physicians or healthcare directives, are legal documents that contain people’s wishes regarding how they want to be treated in the event they can’t communicate their wants and needs to others. All 50 states across the United States legally recognize living wills, though each state is different in terms of what is considered to be legally binding or not. Living wills frequently cover topics like organ donation, being resuscitated if found unconscious or unresponsive, or being tube-fed. People can also opt to receive all available types of medical treatments in the event they can’t communicate their wills to live.