During a serious medical emergency, you may not be able to communicate what you want in terms of medical treatment and, in the worst-case scenario, end-of-life care. Without a signed legal document delineating your wishes in this kind of situation, your doctors may end up making those crucial choices on your behalf, potentially resulting in a bad outcome for everyone involved.

Fortunately, a Manalapan Township living wills lawyer may be able to help remedy this situation long before it ever happens. With the help of a qualified wills attorney, you could draft and enforce a legally binding document that will ensure you receive the medical treatment you want no matter what your physical status is.

What Living Wills Are and What They Cover

Contrary to their informal name, living wills—also known as health care directives—are not act truly wills in a legal sense as they do not address division of assets or any other aspect of a person’s estate. Instead, they can be used to establish instructions regarding emergency and end-of-life care that doctors could follow if a person is unconscious or non-responsive following a medical incident.

With a competently drafted living will, a person can make decisions in advance about what treatment options and techniques they want—or do not want—doctors to utilize in the event of their incapacitation, what sort of hospice care they would prefer, and whether or when doctors should withhold treatment altogether. Importantly, a living will does not go into effect until the signatory is declared terminally ill or in a vegetative state from which they will not recover.

Although the two are sometimes confused, living wills differ slightly from durable powers of attorney. The provisions in a living will must be followed to the letter whereas power of attorney grants may provide instructions for an attorney-in-fact to follow while also giving them authority to make decisions on an incapacitated person’s behalf. A Manalapan Township living will attorney could discuss with an individual which type of document may best suit their needs and wishes.

Requirements for a Valid Living Will in Manalapan Township

New Jersey law establishes numerous rules and regulations regarding living wills and other forms of health care directives in the Garden State. Among various other elements, this section of New Jersey state law mandates that a living will must be drafted by a mentally competent adult in order to be valid. Furthermore, the final signing and dating of the document must be witnessed by a notary, a qualified living wills lawyer in Manalapan Township, or at least two people who affirm under oath that the signatory was not under duress at the time they signed the document.

If someone wants to change or revoke their living will, they must either draft and sign a second directive expressly revokes the first directive, or they must declare the older directive null and void through some other written or verbal statement. Also, no matter what a living will says, any wishes a patient expresses while conscious and competent take precedence over their living will’s instructions if the two contradict each other.

Speak with a Manalapan Township Living Wills Attorney Today

While considering and drafting a living will is rarely an enjoyable process, it is usually a crucial one even for people who do not anticipate an oncoming decline in their cognitive function and wellbeing. In the event of a catastrophic accident, having your wishes for medical treatment or any lack thereof already established can lift a huge burden off of both your medical caretakers and your family.

A Manalapan Township living wills lawyer could answer any questions you have about what these documents cover and how they work in practice during an initial consultation. Call today to schedule your meeting with an experienced legal professional.