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West Virginia Living Wills Laws

We want to imagine that will be here forever, but what happens if we become incapacitated by an illness or injury? How will we express our health care wishes? It’s not easy to think about now, but it’s always better to have a plan in place, and a living will can be that plan. Here is a quick introduction to living wills laws in West Virginia.

Living Wills

Unlike a normal will, which applies after you pass away, a living will is a legally binding document that can be in effect while you are still alive. A living will can express your medical treatment preferences if you become incapacitated, including your wishes regarding whether you want to be kept alive through artificial means after a debilitating injury or illness.

West Virginia Living Wills Statutes

The details of West Virginia’s living wills statutes are listed below.

Code Section

West Virginia Code 16-30-1, et seq.: West Virginia Health Care Decisions Act

Specific Powers, Life-Prolonging Acts

Any medical procedure or intervention which should serve solely to artificially prolong the dying process or maintain the person in a persistent vegetative state; does not include medication or other medical procedure necessary for comfort or to alleviate pain

Legal Requirements for Valid Living Will

(1) 18 yrs.; (2) in writing; (3) executed by declarant or at his direction; (4) dated; (5) in presence of 2 witnesses; (6) in front of notary public; (7) suggested form: §16-30-3(e)

Revocation of Living Will

Revocable at any time without regard to declarant's mental state by destruction of document, written revocation effective on delivery or verbal expression in presence of a witness; desires of capable declarant always supersede effect-of-living will

Validity from State-to-State

Valid in West Virginia if executed in compliance with West Virginia law or the law of state where executed and expressly provides for withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging intervention or termination of life-sustaining procedure

If Physician Unwilling to Follow Durable Power of Attorney

Unwilling physician must effect a transfer to physician willing to honor the living will

Immunity for Attending Physician

No criminal or civil liability if acting in good faith and pursuant to reasonable medical standards

West Virginia Living Wills Laws: Related Resources

Planning in case of a future illness can be emotionally and legally challenging. FindLaw’s section on Living Wills can provide you with 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 also consult with a West Virginia estate planning attorney or a West Virginia health care attorney if you would like legal help regarding a living will or health care matter.

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