A living will (or "health care directive") is a legally binding document that allows individuals to officially state their health care and end-of-life preferences. A living will, which is technically not a will, is used when that individual is unconscious or otherwise unable to provide informed consent (for instance, patients with dementia, brain injuries, or other conditions that make communication with medical staff difficult or impossible). State living will laws generally provide the limits for what an individual may authorize in the document and what is required for a valid living will.
Alaska Living Will Laws at a Glance
The main provisions of Alaska's living will law are listed in the table below. See FindLaw's Living Wills Basics section for more articles.
|Code Section||18.12 Living Wills and Do Not Resuscitate Orders|
|Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts||Withholding or withdrawal of procedures that merely prolong the dying process and are not necessary for comfort or to alleviate pain; includes the administration of food and water by gastric tube or IV; declaration may provide declarant does not want nutrition and hydration administered intravenously or by gastric tube|
|Legal Requirements for Valid Living Will||(1) Competent; (2) 18 yrs.; (3) signed; (4) witnessed by 2 persons over 18 and unrelated to declarant or acknowledged by a person qualified to take acknowledgments; (5) may be in statutory form|
|Revocation of Living Will||Revocable at any time and in any manner declarant is able to communicate intent to revoke without regard to physical/mental condition; effective upon communication; becomes part of declarant's medical record|
|Validity from State-to-State||Declaration executed in another state in compliance with the law of that jurisdiction is effective|
|If Physician Unwilling to Follow Living Will||Physician may withdraw after services of another physician have been obtained|
|Immunity for Attending Physician||Physician causing the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures from a qualified patient not subject to civil, criminal, or professional liability. Attending doctor has no right to compensation for services after withholding should have been effective and may be liable to patient and heirs for a civil penalty of less than $1000 plus costs associated with failure to comply with order or declaration; this is exclusive remedy at law for damages.|
Note: State laws may change at any time, usually through the enactment of new legislation but sometimes through judicial review or other means. You may want to contact an Alaska estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Research the Law
Alaska Living Will Laws: Related Resources
Contact a qualified attorney.