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Posts Tagged ‘Thai Living Will’

9th December 2009

Wills are testamentary instruments used to state one’s intentions after one’s death. Generally Wills come up in the context of property distribution following an individual’s death. In Thailand, both foreign nationals and Thai Citizens die, leaving Thai property in the form of Thai Real Estate and/or assets. In many cases, the family of the deceased will read the Will, have it process through probate, and have the assets distributed in the manner set forth in the codicils of the Will.

A Living Will is a slightly different instrument. To quote Wikipedia:

“[The Living Will] was first proposed by an Illinois attorney, Louis Kutner, in a law journal in 1969. Kutner drew from existing estate law, by which an individual can control property affairs after death (i.e., when no longer available to speak for themselves) and devised a way for an individual to speak to his or her health care desires when no longer able to express current health care wishes. Because this form of ‘will’ was to be used while an individual was still alive (but no longer able to make decisions) it was dubbed the ‘living will.’

A Living Will usually provides specific directives about the course of treatment that is to be followed by health care providers and caregivers. In some cases a living will may forbid the use of various kinds of burdensome medical treatment. It may also be used to express wishes about the use or foregoing of food and water, if supplied via tubes or other medical devices. The living will is only used if the individual has become unable to give informed consent or refusal due to incapacity. A living will can be very specific or very general. An example of a statement sometimes found in a living will is: ‘If I suffer an incurable, irreversible illness, disease, or condition and my attending physician determines that my condition is terminal, I direct that life-sustaining measures that would serve only to prolong my dying be withheld or discontinued.’”

The website Thaivisa.com, in conjunction with The Nation Newspaper, are reporting that the Thai government has preliminarily approved a proposal to allow living wills in Thailand:

“The Cabinet Tuesday gave the green light to living wills. Under the draft decree, health professionals will honour a dying patient’s wish to forego treatment during the terminal stage if it can only prolong life. The draft prepared by the National Health Commission Office will now go to the Council of State for review.”

It will be interesting to see how this legislation progresses through the various official agencies. Living Wills can provide a means and method for transmitting one’s wishes in the event of misfortune. This author hopes that this legislation will receive positive treatment by those with authority to change the law.

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