Life is unpredictable, so it’s prudent to be prepared for anything. That’s the purpose behind a living will. If you don’t already have one, consider creating one with an experienced lawyer. Learning more about how these legal documents work is a smart way to plan for the future. To get started, find out the answers to a few common questions.
A Guide to Living Wills
What is a living will?
Also known as an advanced medical directive, this document establishes your right to refuse or discontinue life-sustaining treatments if you’re permanently unconscious or suffering from a terminal illness. In the will, you can appoint a healthcare agent, typically a spouse or family member, to make decisions about ceasing treatment if you’re unable to do so yourself.
What decisions can the healthcare agent make?
Your healthcare agent can authorize discontinuation of life-sustaining medical treatment if you’re in a vegetative state or no longer of sound mind and incapable of making the decision yourself. However, the agent can’t authorize euthanasia, sterilization, abortion, extreme physical or mental health treatments, or your admittance to a mental health facility.
What medical issues are covered?
If you have reason to believe that you may develop certain debilitating medical issues that would severely affect your quality of life, like cancer or Lou Gehrig's disease, your living will can dictate your wishes in such situations. Typically, these wills also cover such questions about ventilation and feeding tubes if you enter a vegetative state.
Is it the same as a DNR order?
Having a living will is not necessarily the same as a “do not resuscitate” order, which only applies to terminal illnesses and permanent unconsciousness with no chance of recovery. For example, if a complication occurs and causes you to suffer cardiac arrest after a surgery from which you could reasonably expect to heal, a living will would not stop the medical team from making attempts to save you.
To create a thorough living will under the guidance of a compassionate and knowledgeable attorney, contact The Law Office of J. Baron Groshon in Charlotte, NC. With more than three decades of experience navigating legal matters relating to trusts, wills, and estates, he and his staff will ensure that you feel prepared for any situation. They treat each case with individual care and attention, no matter how complex. Although there are offices in Charlotte, Cornelius, Gastonia, and Concord, you can get details by calling (704) 342-2876 or exploring their website.