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Colorado’s new Living Will laws

A “Living Will” (also sometimes referred to as an “advance medical directive”) is an important estate planning tool that allows an individual to make certain end-of-life decisions.  Living Wills have been acknowledged in Colorado for a long time, and for the first time in 21 years, the living will statute has been amended.  Now, in addition to providing a method for those who wish to decline life support and/or artificial nourishment and hydration when diagnosed with a terminal condition, individuals may give advance instructions regarding life sustaining treatment in situations which, although not necessarily terminal, are determined by qualified physicians to leave the victim in a persistent, incurable, and irreversible vegetative state.

While the new statute does not invalidate Living Wills made before its passage, many individuals may want to replace their old Living Wills with the new form in order to maximize their opportunities to direct medical treatment and to relieve their loved ones from responsibility for making these emotionally charged, life changing decisions.