Living will and advance directives in Spain. Decisions on medical actions, organ donation, vegetative state. Legal advice.

In the Valencia Community, the living Will and advance directives are regulated in DECREE 168/2004. Through the living will or advance directives, instructions can be left on:

– Actions and medical decisions to take. In other words, you can indicate how you want the medical team to act in certain circumstances. Normally, it refers to situations of loss of capacity, vegetative status, etc. Thus, the grantor of this document, can be left pre-established instructions in certain cases.

Anticipating the possibility that the person may not be able to express himself, when the time comes.

– You can also record your decision regarding the donation of your organs: Whether for therapeutic, educational or research purposes.

Criteria to take into account

Without going into what could be the thought or opinion of each person, in this regard. The truth is that for many people, it is essential to maintain a quality of life. This could translate into:

– Be able to communicate with other people.

– Do not suffer continuous and intense pain, whether physical or mental.

– Maintain functional independence

And therefore, the lack of these minimums, can lead some people to decide that they wish not to prolong life. If these minimums, considered by them, cannot be achieved.

Sanitary situations and instructions

Consequently, the living will or advance directives, normally, refers to how to act in the different possible scenarios, such as:

– Terminal and irreversible disease

– Chronic vegetative life.

– Severe dementia.

– Chronic pain, etc.

Thus, by means of this testament, and for the indicated situations, each individual could, in advance, confirm what are the instructions for the medical team.  Mainly, about:

1. Artificial prolongation or not, of the life by means of medical techniques, etc.

2. The supply of drugs to alleviate or suppress the pain, mental suffering, etc.

3. That a dignified death is guaranteed.

Who can sign a living will or advance directive?

It can be done by anyone, who is of legal age. Must also have sufficient legal capacity.

How can it be done?

It can be done before the administration and with witnesses: normally, before the Patient Attention and Information Service, although the most common is that it is done before a Spanish public notary.

Appointment of representative

It is possible, and also very common, that representatives are also appointed. These will be the people who will decide and will be the interlocutors, with the medical teams.

Fundamentally, their mission is to make sure to enforce instructions, interpret them, etc.

In addition, the living will or advance directives, in the Valencian Community, will be registered in the CENTRALISED REGISTER OF ADVANCE WILLS OF THE VALENCIAN COMMUNITY.

In relation to this possibility, it may also be of interest to take appropriate advice on how to make a will in Spain.

Also, check the convenience of making a power of attorney in the case of loss of capacity. That could facilitate our relatives and friends, manage our assets, when the time comes.

If you want expert advice, contact us


The information provided in this article is not intended to be legal advice, it merely conveys information related to legal issues.

Carlos Baos (Lawyer)

White & Baos.

Tel: +34 966 426 185


White & Baos 2021 – All Rights Reserved.

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