By John P. McHugh, Esq.
Cranmore, Fitzgerald & Meaney, Hartford
Recent publicity surrounding the Terri Schiavo case has enlightened public awareness about so-called “living wills”. Connecticut does allow an adult (age 18 and over) to complete a living will in advance of their incapacitation. While Connecticut law does not mandate the use of a particular form, there is a suggested form which is set forth in C.G. S. 19a-575. It is prudent to use the suggested form. The form must be executed in the presence of two (2) witnesses. These witnesses must also execute the document. It does not need to be notarized. Another option which is available in Connecticut is for an adult to execute a document which contains health care instructions, the appointment of a health care agent, the appointment of an attorney-in-fact for health care decisions, the designation of a conservator of the person for future incapacity and a document of anatomical gift. All of this is contained in a single document, and the suggested form is set forth in C.G.S. 19a-575a. Again, it is prudent to use the suggested form. The form must be executed in the presence of two (2) witnesses, and these witnesses must also execute the document in the presence of each other and in the presence of the person signing the document. The witnesses must also execute an affidavit which must be notarized.
Finally, there is a simple form for appointing a health care agent, as authorized by C.G.S. 19a-577. Again, this form requires two (2) witnesses. The person appointed as the health care agent cannot be one of the witnesses.
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