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Maine Living Wills Laws

A living will is technically not a will, but a legally binding document in which a person declares how he or she would like to be treated in case of a medical emergency. The term refers to a set of written instructions that explain your wishes regarding end-of-life decisions in the event that you are unable to communicate with your doctor. For instance, you may state in your living will that you do not want to be kept alive through artificial respirators.

Advance Health Care Directives in Maine

Under Maine Law, any spoken or written decision or instruction about the health care you want in the future is called an "Advance Directive." You can tell your family your wishes, but it is best to put it in writing.

Who Can Make An Advance Directive?

Anyone living in Maine who is 18 years of age or older can complete an advance directive. If you are younger than 18 you may also be able to complete an Advance Directive under certain circumstances.

What Should I Include In My Advance Directive?

  • Choose An Agent: Choose someone to make all your health care decisions beginning either right away or when you are too sick to make decisions. That person is called your "agent." If you choose an agent, two (2) witnesses must sign your Advance Directive.
  • End-of-Life Treatments: Choose whether or not you want certain end-of-life treatments when you are very ill. Your agent must follow any choices you make in an Advance Directive.
  • Organ Donation: Indicate your wishes and any plans you have made to donate your organs.
  • Name Your Primary Doctor: Indicate a specific doctor you'd like to have treat you.

Who Can I Choose To Make Medical Decisions For Me?

The person you choose must be at least 18 years old, and should be someone you know and trust to act in your best interest.

Who Should Have A Copy Of My Signed Advance Directive?

First of all, your doctor should be given a copy. He or she will place the document in your medical record, where it should be seen by everyone involved in your care. If you are terminally ill or unconscious, the doctor caring for you will follow the directions in your Advance Directive.

What If My Doctor Refuses To Follow My Advance Directive?

If the doctor is not willing to follow your directions because of the doctor's own personal or religious beliefs, he or she must transfer you to the care of another doctor who will follow your directions.

Are There Any Pre-Printed Forms Available?

Yes, the State of Maine has a pre-printed Advance Directive form you may use. You may still wish to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney.

See FindLaw's Living Wills section for more information.

Code Section Title 18-A, §§5-801 to 5-817
Legal Requirements for Valid Living Will (1) In writing and signed of sound mind and over 18; (2) signed by declarant or another at his direction; (3) witnessed by 2 people; (4) communicated to attending physician; (5) effective upon determination that patient lacks capacity (6) physician records terms of declaration and determination of terminal condition.
Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts Any medical procedure or intervention administered only to prolong process of dying. May include artificially administered nutrition and hydration.
Revocation of Living Will Revocable at any time and in any manner without regard to declarant's mental or physical condition. Revocation effective upon communication to attending physician or health care provider by declarant or witness to revocation.
If Doctor Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney Attending physician or other health care provider who is unwilling shall take all reasonable steps as promptly as practicable to transfer to another physician willing to comply and provide continuing care until transfer is complete.
Immunity for Attending Physician No civil, criminal, or professional liability for physician acting in good faith within the scope of their authority.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Maine estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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