Writing a Last Will and Testament is an essential part of the estate planning process, but it only addresses what should be done with your property and assets after you pass away. If you wish to leave instructions for your treatment immediately prior to your death, speak with a trustworthy attorney about Living Wills in Cary.
Living Wills can be key to ensuring your end-of-life wishes are respected, especially when you cannot communicate them yourself. A qualified lawyer can explain how these documents work, what they could cover, and what steps you can take to make your Living Will legally valid and enforceable.
A Living Will is one piece of many documents that completes an advance directive. A Living Will is a collection of instructions left by a testator regarding what kind of end-of-life care they want and who would assume medical power of attorney over them, if necessary. Since the Living Will supersedes all other similar directives, it should contain broad instructions about what kinds of medical treatments the testator consents or does not consent to if they became terminally incapacitated.
For example, many Living Wills in Cary contain Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) and/or Do Not Intubate (DNI) orders, which will prevent doctors from taking measures to artificially prolong the testator’s life. The Living Will could also list instructions such as:
A Cary resident considering a Living Will should consult a well-practiced attorney to ensure that all relevant matters for their situation are addressed.
North Carolina General Statutes §90-321 includes a template for a basic Living Will. Through this template or a similar document drafted with legal assistance, a testator may instruct doctors to “withhold extraordinary means” to prolong their life in the event that they suffer from a terminal disease or are in a vegetative state. This establishes a terminal patient’s right to a natural death and to not be subjected to life-preserving measures without their consent.
In order for their Living Will to be valid and enforceable in Cary, a testator must sign and date the document in front of two witnesses who can vouch for their testamentary capacity to make such a decision. The document must also be notarized. A testator may also revoke a previously signed Living Will at any point, so long as they can affirmatively communicate their desire to do so.
While state law does provide a template for an enforceable Living Will, you may also draft your own unique document to better suit your specific needs and goals. Either way, it is recommended that you work with an attorney to ensure your directives comply with state law and effectively serve your wishes and best interests.