Since 2002, physicians in Belgium are, under stringent statutory conditions, allowed to perform euthanasia at a patient's request. However, physicians can never be compelled to do so. Even if all the legal requirements have been fulfilled, physicians are free to perform euthanasia or to turn down a request to that effect.

Euthanasia must be applied for in writing, if and when euthanasia is being discussed, and the patient's mental condition permits it.

Yet, every competent adult or emancipated minor is entitled to make arrangements for when the time comes that he/she is no longer able to express his/her own will (e.g. when in coma) by making a living will concerning euthanasia* in advance. Bear in mind though that, in accordance with Belgian legislation, a living will cannot be older than five years.

* See Glossary