Living Will Attorney

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Regardless of your age, it is never too early to start planning for your future. Making thoughtful choices about how your future health care needs will be handled is an important part of estate planning.

A living will, also known as an advanced directive for a natural death, allows you to clearly communicate your wishes regarding the implementation of life-prolonging measures in the event that you are unable to make your own medical decisions.

While everyone hopes to make their own end-of-life medical decisions, a tragic accident or illness can occur unexpectedly. At Breeden Law Office, a North Carolina living will attorney understands that the prospect of incapacitation is difficult for many people to confront, which is why Attorney Jonathan Breeden is committed to providing a compassionate and personalized approach. Attorney Breeden has over 20 years of estate planning experience and can help ensure that your loved ones are aware of your end-of-life wishes through a living will.

Begin planning today and call our family law attorneys at (919) 661-4970 or contact us online.

What is a Living Will?

In North Carolina, a living will is a legal document that allows you to direct in advance whether certain life-sustaining medical procedures will be implemented to prolong your life if you become incapacitated with no hope of recovery. It is important to remember that a living will is not a testamentary instrument, meaning it does provide for the distribution of your personal belongings or property upon your death.

A living will becomes effective in any of the following:

  • You develop a terminal condition that will in your death within a relatively short time period.
  • You are unconscious and your health care providers determine that, to a high degree of medical certainty, you will never regain consciousness.
  • You suffer from advanced dementia or any other condition which results in substantial loss of your cognitive ability, and your health care providers determine that, to a high degree of medical certainty, the loss is irreversible.

What is the Purpose of a Living Will?

If you become incapacitated due to illness or age and do not have a living will in place, your loved ones will have to make some very difficult decisions on your behalf and may be uncertain about your end-of-life desires. Not only does a living will relieve your loved ones from the burden of making decisions about end-of-life care, it can help prevent disputes within families or between your family and medical care providers.

Do I Need a Living Will?

What are Life-Prolonging Measures?

A living will give you the ability to authorize the withholding of life-prolonging measures entirely or to specify which life-prolonging measures you want to receive. Under North Carolina law, the term “life-prolonging measures” means medical procedures or interventions that serve only to postpone artificially the moment of death by sustaining, restoring, or supplanting a vital function.

Examples of life-prolonging measures include mechanical ventilation, kidney dialysis, antibiotics, and tube feeding (artificial nutrition and hydration). Life-prolonging measures do not include medical care intended to provide comfort and pain relief.

What are the Requirements of a Living Will in North Carolina?

For a living will to be properly executed, it must be:

  • Signed and dated by the declarant
  • Certified by a notary public
  • Be witnessed by at least two individuals who are not (1) related to the declarant (person signing the living will), (2) potential heirs of the declarant, (3) have an outstanding claim against the declarant or declarant’s estate, (4) be your attending physician, other health care provider, or employed by the health care institution providing treatment (5) or under 18 years of age.

A properly executed living will should be valid in any jurisdiction in which it is presented. Given the implications, a living will have on your future medical care and family members, it is advisable to consult with an experienced North Carolina estate planning attorney before its implementation.

Can a Living Will Be Revoked If I Change My Mind?

A living will can be revoked at any time so long as you are able to communicate your decisions regarding medical care. You can revoke a living will in writing or in any manner by communicating your intent to revoke in a clear and consistent manner, without regard to your mental or physical condition.

How the Breeden Law Office Can Help

Having a living will in place will give you peace of mind that your wishes will be honored in the event of a tragic accident or illness. At Breeden Law Office, North Carolina estate planning attorney Jonathan Breeden approaches each case with the compassion and professionalism, so you can rest assured that your best interests are being protected.

Jonathan can thoroughly explain your estate planning options, help you determine your goals, and assist you with preparing a living will that clearly expresses your end-of-life wishes. Call us today at (919) 661-4970 to learn how we can help

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