Advance Healthcare Directive (Living Will)

In North Carolina, a Living Will is also called an Advance Directive for a Natural Death. A Living Will is not a Last Will and Testament.

You have a right to control all decisions concerning your medical care. A Living Will is a written document that gives you that control.

If there is no reasonable hope of recovery, the purpose of a Living Will is to communicate your intent to die a natural death. If you have a medical condition that is determined to be terminal and incurable, by creating a Living Will, you can declare whether or not you want your life prolonged by extraordinary medical treatment.

When properly signed, witnessed, and certified, a Living Will works as follows:

  • If your doctor determines that your condition is terminal and incurable; or
  • You are diagnosed as a persistent vegetative state and a second doctor confirms this opinion;
  • Your doctor may withhold or stop extraordinary medical treatment or artificial nutrition or hydration, in accordance with your instructions contained in your Healthcare Directive.

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