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New Mexico Living Wills Laws

It’s never easy to imagine ourselves or a loved one becoming incapacitated. But if it happens, how will we or that person express our health care wishes? As hard as it may be to think about it now, it’s always better to have a plan in place for these situations, and a living will can provide that plan. This is brief overview of living wills laws in New Mexico.

Living Wills

When we normally think of wills, we think of designating who gets what property after a person passes away. A living will, on the other hand, is a legally binding document that can be in effect while a person is alive and expresses the person’s medical treatment preferences if he or she becomes incapacitated. A living will can also indicate a person’s wishes regarding whether he or she wants to be kept alive through artificial means after a debilitating injury or illness.

New Mexico Living Wills Statutes

New Mexico’s living wills statutes are highlighted below.

Code Section

New Mexico Statutes 24-7A-1 et seq.: Uniform Health Care Decisions Act

Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts

Any medical treatment or procedure without which the individual is likely to die within a short time

Legal Requirements for Valid Living Will

(1) Of sound mind; (2) age of majority; (3) written or oral; (4) dated; (5) 2 adult witnesses; (6) effective when patient no longer able to make own health-care decisions.

Revocation of Living Will

Revocable at any time in any way that communicates an intent to revoke.

Validity from State-to-State

Document Uniformly applied and construed among states enacting Uniform Health-Care Decisions Act.

If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney

Physician must take appropriate steps to transfer the patient to another qualified physician and provide continuing care to patient until transfer.

Immunity for Attending Physician

No civil or criminal liability or professional discipline for acting pursuant to statute in good faith

New Mexico Living Wills Laws: Related Resources

Planning for a future illness or death is no easy task, and health care laws can be confusing. For additional articles and resources on this topic, including a sample living will form and a sample living will with designation of a surrogate form, you can visit FindLaw’s section on Living Wills. If you would like legal assistance with a living will or health care matter, you can consult with a New Mexico estate planning attorney or a New Mexico health care attorney.

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