Planning for the future can feel frustrating, uncomfortable, and intimidating, so let us help take the guesswork out of it. If you’re wondering what a living will or health care power of attorney can do or if you need one, this legal guide help will explain it. If you need help with estate planning or just have a question, do not hesitate to contact us for an initial consultation (don’t worry—it’s free).

What’s an “Advance Medical Directive”?

Living wills and health care powers of attorney are types of advance medical directives. An Advance Medical Directive is a legal document that contains your written instructions about the medical treatment you want to receive if you are ever too injured or sick to speak for yourself. You then have the option to confidentially file the forms with the state and receive a small, convenient card for your purse or wallet to carry with you that will allow you (or anyone on your behalf) to access your directives no matter where you are. If you ever change your mind, your forms can be revised or withdrawn at any time.

What Kinds of Advance Medical Directive are Available?

  • Health care power of attorney

  • “Living Will” (Advance instruction for a natural death)

  • Advance instruction for mental health treatment

  • Organ and Tissue donor

What’s a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A health care power of attorney allows you to name a person you trust to make your health care decisions for you if you are too sick or injured to do it yourself or if your spouse is unable to do it.

What’s a “Living Will” (Advance Instruction for a Natural Death)?

A Living Will (or Advance Instruction for a Natural Death) allows you to decide before you are too sick or injured what types of life-support measures will be used if you ever can’t speak for yourself. If you have strong beliefs about the use of life-support equipment, a living will enables you to make those decisions for yourself today instead of leaving it up to your family.

What’s an Advance Instruction for Mental Health Treatment?

A mental health advance medical directive allows you to decide before you are too sick or injured what mental health care and treatment to want to receive if you ever can’t speak for yourself. If you have strong beliefs about the use of certain medications and mental health treatments (commitment in a facility, “shock” therapy, etc), a mental health advance directive enables you to make those decisions for yourself today instead of leaving it up to your family.

Organ and Tissue Donor

For anyone over the age of 18, becoming an organ and tissue donor in North Carolina is a simple and easy process that saves lives. A single organ and tissue donor can save 8 lives and help improve the conditions of 42 other people. Tragically, 20 people on average die every day while waiting for a transplant. We strongly encourage all of our clients to consider organ and tissue donation.

What is a Do Not Resuscitate (“DNR”) Order?

A Do Not Resuscitate Order (“DNR”) is a medical order that only you doctor can provide that instructs other health care providers to not perform CPR if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating. DNRs are common for hospice or terminally ill patients who has decided to forego any additional life-saving medical treatment.

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