Living Wills in Virginia Beach

Many components are built into estate planning, and one of the lesser-known documents you may want to think about is the living will. It has nothing to do with the will you draft to leave your assets to loved ones. It documents end-of-life medical decisions you can control by enacting them now.

Final wishes are often difficult to face, and many people put off memorializing them. Our compassionate wills attorneys understand that death is a somber subject, but planning while you are healthy can give you a sense of peace that nothing is left to chance. To discuss how you can control your final medical decisions, contact a lawyer familiar with living wills in Virginia Beach.

What is a Living Will?

Living wills were created under the Virginia Health Care Decisions Act to enable people in Virginia Beach to share their end-of-life medical care wishes when they are unable to express them because of a critical injury, coma, or grave illness.

The document is binding, and the medical team at the patient’s end-stage can rely on it, even when it is counter to what family members want. Often, the family will demand that extraordinary measures be used to keep a loved one alive when the patient prefers to die in peace instead of existing in a vegetative state.

Requirements for a Living Will

When an attorney drafts a living will, some requirements are in order, including, in most cases, that the document is in writing. Other requirements include:

  • The maker of a living will must be at least 18
  • The maker must be mentally competent at the time of signing
  • The maker must sign the living will with two competent witnesses present
  • The witnesses to a living will must be 18 and sign the will

Living wills are only enforced when a person in Virginia Beach can no longer communicate with their medical team. As long as they have the capacity to speak to and understand their physician, the medical team will follow what they say at the end stage.

The Exception to the Written Living Will

When a physician diagnoses a patient with a terminal condition, the patient can share their end-of-life preferences with the medical staff, effectively creating an oral living will. The physician and two acceptable witnesses must be present during the declaration.

What to Include in a Living Will

Living wills address any end-stage issue an individual in Virginia Beach can imagine. They can share their preferences for pain management, resuscitation, or the use of a ventilator. A person can accept or reject feeding and hydration tubes should they be in a vegetative state.

They can also address whether they wish to donate their organs, along with other directives specific to culture, religion, or personal preferences.

Living Wills Drafted in Other States

When a person currently lives in Virginia Beach but drafted a living will in another state, they may be wondering if it is valid here. The state of Virginia will accept and enforce it if it was legally drafted and is still enforceable in their former state. An attorney should review it to ensure it meets the current standards.

Talk to an Attorney About Living Wills in Virginia Beach

Many people decide to talk about estate planning later because it is an uncomfortable topic. It can give you control over crucial decisions you should not leave to the court or family members who are so distraught they order every measure when nothing more will save you.

A living will allows you to decide whether you want your medical team to employ extraordinary measures to prolong your life or let you die peacefully. You can determine whether to donate organs, how to control pain, and how long you are willing to remain comatose. Do not let your discomfort about the subject stop you from meeting with our compassionate lawyers to discuss living wills in Virginia Beach. Call now to document your wishes.

Areas We Serve

With an office near Town Center, Virginia Beach and a second location beside the Chesapeake courthouse, our team provides quality legal representation across the entire Hampton Roads Area.

  • Virginia Beach
  • Hampton
  • Chesapeake
  • Newport News
  • Norfolk
  • Yorktown
  • Portsmouth
  • Accomack County
  • Suffolk
  • Northampton County

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law

Parks Zeigler, PLLC – Attorneys At Law N/a
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