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Indiana Living Wills Laws

Living wills are different from the legal wills we normally think of. While a normal will generally addresses what happens to a person’s property after they pass away, living wills are legally binding documents that express an individual's medical treatment and end-of-life preferences. A living will generally details whether a patient wants to be kept alive through artificial means after a debilitating injury or illness. They can also indicate which treatment options the patient prefers, should he or she become unable to communicate.

Indiana Living Wills Statutes

The particulars of Indiana’s living wills statutes are highlighted below.

Code Section

§16-36-4-1 et seq. Living Wills and Life Prolonging Procedures Act

Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts

Living will declarant may ask that life prolonging procedures that would sustain, restore, or supplant a vital function or that would serve to prolong the dying process not be used in case of terminal diagnosis and incapacity; this does not include any medical procedure or medication necessary to provide comfort care or alleviate pain.

Legal Requirements for Valid Living Will

(1) Person of sound mind, 18 yrs. old; (2) voluntary; (3) in writing; (4) dated; (5) signed in presence of 2 adult witnesses; (6) notice to declarant's attending physician; (7) is presumptive evidence of declarant's intent; (8) not enforced if pregnant (sample form §16-36-4-10). Witnesses must not be related to declarant.

Revocation of Living Will

Living will declaration is presumed valid. Revocable at any time by (1) signed and dated in writing; (2) physical destruction by declarant or at declarant's direction; (3) oral expression of revocation

Validity from State-to-State

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If Physician Unwilling to Follow Living Will

Physician who refuses to comply shall transfer to another physician who will comply unless (1) physician believes declaration is not validly executed and (2) patient is unable to validate declaration. If patient not transferred for above reason, physician should try and ascertain patient's intent and declaration's validity from persons listed in §16-36-4-13 (g)(1-7).

Immunity for Attending Physician

Act of withdrawing or withholding life-prolonging procedures for qualified patient is lawful, and physician is not subject to criminal or civil liability or unprofessional conduct if done in good faith and in accordance with reasonable medical standards. Violation of any provisions of act subjects physician to disciplinary sanctions by medical licensing board.

Indiana Living Wills Laws: Related Resources

It’s not always easy trying to plan for a future illness or death. If you would like legal assistance in setting up a living will, you contact an Indiana estate planning attorney near you. You can also view a sample living will form and a sample living will with designation of a surrogate form in FindLaw’s living wills section.

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