DOJ: News Release

Governor Signs Bill to put Living Wills on Justice Website

HELENA – Gov. Brian Schweitzer Thursday signed into law a bill to create a statewide Internet registry for living wills. The new law requires the Montana attorney general’s office to set up the registry on its website. The bill, HB 742, was sponsored by Rep. Rosalie Buzzas (D-Missoula).

The bill had widespread support from groups including the MHA, the Montana Medical Association, the Montana chapters of the American Cancer Society and AARP, and the Montana Advocacy program.

“As important as it is to make our end-of-life wishes known, it’s something we tend to put off,” Attorney General Mike McGrath said. “The registry and public education this bill authorizes will make it easier for people to complete a living will and, just as important, make sure that information is readily available to family members and medical professionals when it’s needed.”

McGrath also noted that Montana is fortunate to have the Missoula-based Life’s End Institute as a resource.

The Internet registry will likely be modeled after the Missoula Choices Bank, a registry developed by Life’s End Institute under a three-year federal grant. The Choices Bank is a secure web-based database containing advance directive documents such as living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care.

Life’s End Institute: Missoula Demonstration Project, working to improve the quality of life for people who are dying and their families, is one of the nation’s oldest and most well known community end-of-life organizations. Life’s End Institute was founded in 1996 by Ira Byock, M.D., now Director of Palliative Medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and Barbara Spring, Ph.D., Director of Research and Programs at Life’s End Institute.

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