An advanced directive or living will is a legal document in which you direct whether your life will be prolonged by medical procedures in any of three circumstances: (1) you have an incurable or irreversible condition that will result in your death within a relatively short period of time; (2) you become unconscious and your health care providers determine that, to a high degree of medical certainty, you will never regain consciousness; and/or (3) you suffer from advanced dementia or any other condition which results in substantial loss of your cognitive ability, and your health care providers determine that, to a high degree of medical certainty, the loss is not reversible. In addition, a living will allows you to authorize or direct the withholding or withdrawal of life-prolonging measures (for example, respirator care and artificial nutrition or hydration) that would only serve to delay your death. In a living will you may also direct the provision of artificial nutrition and/or artificial hydration, together with or separate from life-prolonging measures.

A living will must be witnessed by 2 persons and certified by a notary public. You may revoke a living will at any time that you are able to communicate health care decisions. Revocation my occur by executing and acknowledging a document of revocation, executing a subsequent living will or by any other manner by which you are able to communicate your intent to revoke. The revocation will become effective only upon communication to the attending physician. It is suggested that you give a copy to your family physician, your attorney, spouse or trusted adult family members. For $10, you also may file a copy with the Advance Health Care Directive Registry maintained by the Secretary of State ( A safe deposit box or locked safe is not recommended for storage.

You should carefully consider the implication of executing this document, both as to the course of your future medical care and as to the effect of your decisions on your loved ones. Call the Adaramola Law Firm today at 828-348-0189 or fill out the contact form to schedule a consultation to learn more.