Living Will and Medical Power of Attorney

You have the right to give directions to your family and providers about your future healthcare should you become unable to make decisions for yourself. You can submit these directions through written documents called advance directives.

Two advance directives recognized by law are the living will and medical power of attorney.

  • Living wills determine withholding or withdrawing of life-prolonging intervention and are voluntary.
  • A medical power of attorney representative is someone age 18 or older appointed by another person to make healthcare decisions according to the provisions of the law.

If you have not completed a living will or medical power of attorney, WVU Medicine encourages you to consider doing so before or shortly after your admission. Notify your doctor or nurse and they can arrange for you to receive copies of the forms and information necessary to complete them.

All WVU Medicine hospitals recognize a patient’s right to complete a living will and medical power of attorney. It is our policy that hospital personnel respect these documents. Completion of advance directives is voluntary and not a condition for admission or continued stay in our hospitals.

If you choose not to complete an advance directive and become too ill to make decisions for yourself, our hospitals follow the West Virginia Health Care Decisions Act of 2000, which allows you to select a surrogate who assists in making medical decisions for you. By law, the surrogate is usually a close family member or a friend.

In the event that a WVU Medicine provider is unable to comply with a patient’s directive, care of the patient will transfer to another provider.

  • Learn more about advance directives on the American Hospital Association website.
  • Download advance directive forms on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization website.

State-specific information

West Virginia

For more information about West Virginia advance directives, visit the West Virginia Center for End-of-Life Care.



More information about Advance Directives:


For more information about Ohio advance directives, visit the Ohio Hospital Association.


For more information about Pennsylvania advance directives, contact: