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Advance Directives in North Carolina

Estate planning is all about protecting things of value, and that includes far more than just financial assets. Your estate plan needs to include documents that allow for your wishes to be carried out with respect to health care matters as well as with money matters.

One of those critical documents is an advance directive, also referred to as a “living will.” The experienced estate planning attorneys at Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC can review the options for this sensitive document and prepare an advance directive that is tailored to your wishes while complying with the requirements of North Carolina law.

The Purpose of a Living Will

The full name of the legal document known as a living will is an “Advance Directive for a Natural Death.” Unlike a traditional will, a living will has absolutely nothing to do with property and it takes effect while you are alive. In fact, the only thing it really has in common with a traditional will is that it is an important part of a well-rounded estate plan.

A living will informs health care providers about your preferences for life-prolonging medical treatment in situations where you are unable to make or communicate your wishes. Essentially, a living will communicates on your behalf. Before executing this document, it is essential for you to understand all the medical terms and the implications of your choices. When you work with a knowledgeable North Carolina estate planning attorney to prepare a living will, your legal advisor can provide the information you need to make informed choices.

What Do You Communicate in a Living Will?

In your advance directive for a natural death, (aka, living will,) you tell your medical providers whether you do or not want particular types of care to prolong your life. For instance, you might specify that you want to receive artificial hydration, but not nutrition. If you have a medical power of attorney designating a health care agent to make medical decisions on your behalf, you can also specify whether the agent has authority to override the terms in your living will.

When Advance Directives Take Effect

Some jurisdictions severely restrict the circumstances when the provisions of a living will are honored. In North Carolina, individuals have options for choosing when they want doctors to honor the terms spelled out in their advance directive.

For instance, you may choose to have your directive take effect only if you have been diagnosed with an incurable terminal condition that will cause your death within a short time. Or you might decide that the terms of your living will should only be honored if you are unlikely to regain consciousness or if you have irreversible dementia. You might elect to have your advance directive take effect in all of these types of situations. The choices are yours, so long as your document meets legal requirements such as execution in the presence of witnesses. You also have the option to revoke the document at any time.

Compassionate North Carolina Estate Planning Attorneys Help You Prepare for the Future with an Advanced Directive That Represents Your Wishes

No one wants to contemplate the choices incorporated into a living will. However, when you work with a knowledgeable North Carolina estate planning attorney at Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC to prepare an advance directive that represents your wishes, you can spare your loved ones the pain of uncertainty in the future. Contact us today to learn how we could prepare a living will to ensure your health care wishes receive the respect you deserve.

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