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North Carolina Living Wills Laws

A living will is technically not a will, but a legally binding document in which the signee declares how he or she would like to be treated in case of a medical emergency. For instance, you may state in your living will that you do not want to be kept alive through artificial respirators. North Carolina living will laws allow a patient who is either terminal or who is in a persistent vegetative state to decline "extraordinary means" to keep that person alive. The wishes stated in a living will typically are carried out by another individual through a durable power of attorney.

Learn about the finer points of North Carolina's living will laws in the box below. See FindLaw's Living Wills section for more information.

Code Section 90-320, et seq. Right to Natural Death
Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts Declarant may instruct attending physicians to withhold extraordinary means to keep declarant alive whose condition is either terminal and incurable or who is in a persistent vegetative state as confirmed in writing by second physician which would only serve to postpone artificially the moment of death by sustaining, restoring, or supplanting a vital function
Legal Requirements for Valid Living Will (1) Signed; (2) in the presence of 2 witnesses who believe declarant is of sound mind; (3) dated; (4) notarized or proved before a clerk; (5) specific form §90-321(a)
Revocation of Living Will Revocable in any manner by which declarant is able to communicate his intent to revoke without regard for mental or physical state-effective upon communication to physician
Validity from State-to-State -
If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney -
Immunity for Attending Physician Withholding or discontinuing of extraordinary means shall not be considered cause of death for civil or criminal purposes. These provisions may be asserted as a defense to any civil or criminal suits or charges filed against a health care provider

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a North Carolina estate planning attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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