Are You a Legal Professional?

Wisconsin Living Wills Laws

None of us want to think about bad things happening to our family and loved ones. But should the unthinkable happen, and someone we love becomes incapacitated and needs medical attention, it’s best to have a plan in place. Living wills can provide that plan. This is a quick introduction to living wills laws in Wisconsin.

Living Wills Laws

While the legal wills we normally think of generally address what happens to a person’s property after they pass away, living wills are a little different. A living will is a legally binding document that expresses an individual's medical treatment preferences, if they aren't able to express those preferences themselves. More specifically, living wills can detail whether a patient wants to be kept alive by artificial means after a debilitating injury or illness. A living will can also indicate the treatment options a patient prefers, should he or she become unable to communicate.

Wisconsin Living Wills Statutes

The chart below highlights the particulars of Wisconsin’s living wills statutes.

Code Section

154.01, et seq. Natural Death

Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts

Any medical procedure or intervention that would serve to prolong the dying process but not avert death; includes assistance in respiration, artificial maintenance of blood pressure and heart rate, blood transfusion, kidney dialysis, and similar procedures but does not include pain alleviation or provision of nutrition or hydration

Legal Requirements for Valid Living Will

(1) 18 yrs. and of sound mind; (2) signed; (3) in presence of 2 witnesses; (4) notify physician; (5) form: §154.03; (6) no effect during pregnancy; (7) may file with register in probate. Witnesses must not be related to declarant.

Revocation of Living Will

Revocable at any time by destruction of document, written revocation signed and dated, or verbal expression of revocation effective upon notifying physician. Desires of qualified patient supersede declaration at all times.

Validity from State-to-State

Declarations made in other states valid to the extent consistent with the laws of this state

If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney

Must make good faith effort to transfer

Immunity for Attending Physician

No criminal, civil, or professional liability when acting in good faith

Wisconsin Living Wills Laws: Related Resources

Planning for a future illness or death is never easy. You can find additional articles and resources, including a sample living will form and a sample living will with designation of a surrogate form, in FindLaw’s living wills section. You can also contact a Wisconsin estate planning attorney if you would like legal assistance in setting up a living will.

Next Step Search and Browse
Contact a qualified attorney.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)