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Raleigh Living Will Attorney

By means of a Living Will you decide in advance what medical care and treatment you receive if you ever become unable to specify those wishes yourself. No one should be without a Living Will. Below are some frequently asked questions. I hope you find them helpful.

What is a “Living Will” or “Physician’s Directive”?

A living will is a document that tells your doctor or other healthcare providers whether or not you want life-sustaining treatments or procedures administered to you if you are in a terminal and incurable condition or a persistent vegetative state. It is called a “living will” because it takes effect while you are still living.

Is a “Living Will” the same as a “Will” or “Living Trust”?

No. Wills and living trusts are financial documents that allow you to plan for the distribution of your financial assets and property after your death. A living will only deals with medical issues, namely life-sustaining treatments or procedures, while you are still living.

When does a North Carolina Living Will go into effect?

A North Carolina living will goes into effect when: 1) Your doctor has a copy of it, and 2) Your doctor has decided that you are no longer able to make your own health decisions, and 3) your doctor and another doctor have determined that you are in a terminal and incurable condition or a persistent vegetative state.

What are “life-sustaining” treatments?

These are treatments or procedures that are not expected to cure your terminal condition or make you better. They only prolong dying. Examples are: mechanical respirators, which help you breathe; kidney dialysis, which clears your body of wastes; and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which restores your heartbeat.

What is a “terminal and incurable” condition?

A terminal and incurable condition is defined as a condition for which the administration of medical treatment will only prolong the dying process, and without administration of these treatments or procedures, death will occur in a relatively short period of time.

What is a “persistent vegetative state”?

A persistent vegetative state means that a patient is in a permanent coma or state of unconsciousness caused by illness, injury, or disease. The patient is totally unaware of himself, his surroundings and environment, and to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, there can be no recovery.

Is a Living Will the same as a “Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)” order?

No. A North Carolina living will covers almost all types of life-sustaining treatments and procedures. A “Do Not Resuscitate” order covers two types of life-threatening situations. A DNR order is a document prepared by your doctor at your direction and placed in your medical records. It states that if you suffer cardiac arrest (your heart stops beating) or respiratory arrest (you stop breathing), your healthcare providers are not to try to revive you by any means.

Will I receive medication for pain?

Unless you state otherwise in the living will, medication for pain will be provided when appropriate to make you comfortable and will not be discontinued.

Can my doctor be sued or prosecuted for carrying out the provisions of a North Carolina Living Will?

No. The North Carolina Right to a Natural Death Act specifically states that the withholding or discontinuance of any extraordinary means of keeping a patient alive, or the withholding or discontinuance of artificial nutrition and hydration, shall not be considered the cause of death for any civil or criminal purpose, nor shall it be considered unprofessional conduct.

Does a North Carolina Living Will affect insurance?

No. The making of a living will, in accordance with North Carolina law, should not affect the sale or issuance of any life insurance policy, nor should it invalidate or change the terms of any insurance policy. In addition, the removal of life-support systems according to North Carolina law, shall not, for any purpose, constitute suicide, homicide or euthanasia, nor shall it be deemed the cause of death for the purposes of insurance coverage.

Does a North Carolina Living Will have to be signed and witnessed?

Yes, you must sign (or have someone sign the document in your presence and at your direction, if you are unable to sign) and date the living will. Then it must be witnessed by two qualified adults and be notarized by a Notary Public.

Other Raleigh Estate Planning Resources from The Law Corner

Estate Planning Resources Raleigh

Will Information in Raleigh, NC

Raleigh, NC Living Will

Power of Attorney in Raleigh, NC

Health Care Power of Attorney Raleigh, NC

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order Raleigh

Raleigh Revocable Living Trust Raleigh, NC

Pour Over Will in Raleigh, NC

Raleigh Probate Process 

The Law Corner Attorneys help people all over Wake County to include the following areas: Knightdale, Wake Forest, RaleighMorrisville, Apex, Wendell, Zebulon, New Hope, CaryRolesville, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs, and Garner.


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