The economic journal “Cinco Días” has published an opinion piece by our Managing Partner, León Fernando del Canto, in which he explains what a living will is and why it can be a helpful legal document.
The living will, also known as an “advance healthcare directive” allows to clarify a number of instructions or indications to the relatives or medical staff of a person unable to communicate as a result of a medical emergency.
Del Canto regrets that this legal resource is still not very well-known among Spanish citizens; a society in which death is still a taboo, illustrated by the fact that only 15% of the population have actually made their will.
Regarding the living will, 200.000 people have applied for this procedure in the last year, according to figures from the Ministry of Health‘s Living Will National Registry.
León Fernando del Canto points out that the living will must be explicit, non-contradictory with the testament and should include references about the possibility of self-tutelage of the will-maker or in regards to the will-makers` possessions and assets.
However, he highlights the preconceptions that lead citizens to avoid facing the living will like the aforementioned social taboo of death and its identification with euthanasia. Del Canto states that, on the contrary, the living will is related to orthothanasia, a practice which “by no means intends to deliberately anticipate the patient’s death”, with a dignified death and the right to choose.