Living Wills in Thailand
A “Living Will in Thailand“, also known as a “Physician’s Directive”, is a separate document from a Last Will. The difference between a Will and a “Living Will” is that the Living Will dictates how you will be cared for while you are still alive and a Will dictates funeral arrangements and how your assets will be divided after you have passed away. A “Living Will” has NOTHING to do with your property.
By means of a “Living Will” you decide in advance what medical care and treatment you receive if you ever become unable to specify those wishes yourself. For example, you can designate whether you wish to be kept on life prolonging machines if there is no longer any hope that you will recover from an accident or long-term terminal medical condition, whether or not you want food or hydration, whether or not you want medication to make you more comfortable and other decisions of this nature. A “Living Will” is an important document and it’s easy to make. Wouldn’t it be better for you to make these decisions while you are able to instead of forcing your family to make them when you can’t?
No provision of the Commercial and Civil Code of Thailand are related to “Living Will in Thailand”. Thailand waited until 10 March 2007 to recognise “Living Wills” with the Health Act (2007), mentioning at section 12:
“Section 12: An individual is entitled to make a Living Will expressing that person’s intentions to refrain from receiving medical treatment for the purpose of extending the last phase of their life or for ending the suffering arising from the illness.
A Living Will in Thailand should be based on the principles and regulations of the Ministerial Regulation.
Public health officials abiding by the Living Will, based on paragraph 1, “are not conducting themselves improperly and will not be held responsible.”
A very short and simple Living Will could be something like this:
LIVING WILL DECLARATION
THIS DECLARATION is made by (your name)
As I make this declaration I am of sound mind.
I direct this declaration to my family and to anyone else who may become responsible for my health, welfare, financial, or other affairs. I hereby declare as follows:
Should circumstances come to exist, such as there is no reasonable expectation of my recovery, I direct that no extreme measures of any kind be used. In the event that there is a substantial question about the possibility of my recovery, or if there is no reasonable expectation of my recovery, I request that medication or other measures be utilized to reduce my physical suffering. I ask that this request be carried out even in the event that such measures or such medication may shorten my life.
On behalf of myself and my Estate I hereby release from any liability all hospitals, physicians, other medical personnel, and all other individuals having any part in complying with the requests made herein above.
(Your signature, the date, the place, 2 witnesses, their addresses and occupation, writer of the Living Wills, etc. Check the regulation below.)
The regulation about ‘Living Will in Thailand” was signed on October 6th 2010 by the Prime minister of Thailand.
It was published on 22nd October 2010 in the Royal Thai Gazette.
According to clause 1, it will be applicable 210 days after the publication in the Governmental Gazette. So, it took effect on May 20th 2011.
YOU CAN FIND THE REGULATION IN THAI HERE:
AND AN UNOFFICIAL TRANSLATION IN ENGLISH HERE:
A living Will does not allow mercy killing or euthanasia.
If you want to make a “Living Will” in Thailand, you must respect certain conditions:
– The person making the Will must be 18 yo or older.
– You must specify the date of the living Will and all information about the person making the Will (full name, address, Thai ID, contact number, etc.)
– You must indicate which health care you do not wish to receive and all information related to your intentions about health care.
– It must be signed by the person making the Will and witness(es). Information about the witness(es) must also be written. To avoid any legal problem, we suggest to put at least 2 witnesses. Their relationship with the declarant must be written and it would be wise to put witnesses that have no interests in your estate (people that are not heir in your Last Will or that are not statutory heir(s).
– The writer of the Will, if not the declarant, must be specified.
OTHER RELATED DOCUMENTS AND ARTICLES
- Bangkok Post commentary
- Matichon Online (Thai)
- Other article in Thai language
- Bangkok Hospital information and Living Will (free)
This post is also available in: Thai