A Living Will declaration is a letter of instructions to your Doctor or other Health Care Providers describing what your wishes are for your health care treatment. If you are not presently able to talk, or otherwise communicate with the doctor, the Living Will operates as your written instructions.
A Living Will Declaration, however, has been commonly thought to only be a direction not to connect you to life support systems, or if you are already connected to such a system, then to remove the life support system. In Ohio, a Living Will can give these instructions (even to the extent of discontinuing food and water) if you are permanently unconscious or suffering from a terminal condition and death is otherwise imminent. A Living Will may also direct just the opposite - i.e. keep yourself connected to the equipment at all costs, or may direct anything in between.
The importance of this document is to make sure that your family and doctors know what your wishes are, instead of having to guess at your intentions. By statute, in Ohio, if you become terminally ill and death is imminent or if you are permanently unconscious, the doctors are required to wait one (1) year before terminating the life support, and even then only with a court order. Although some doctors may ignore this statute if the rest of the family is in agreement with terminating life support, one should not rely on this course of action. It is better to have all of your wishes in writing in a Living Will declaration.