Living wills and the Right to a Natural Death Act

On Behalf of | May 2, 2019 | Estate Planning | 0 comments

During estate planning, many Tennessee residents choose to create a living will, or advance care plan, along with other important documents, such as a will. Creating a living will may allow individuals to make health care and end-of-life decision in advance. With an advance care plan, a person may ensure that medical professionals and family members understand and abide by his or her wishes relating to medical care and treatment.

An individual creating a living will in Tennessee may want to include information relating to the state’s Right to a Natural Death Act. According to FindLaw, this legal code allows Tennessee residents to choose whether they want medicine, medical equipment and/or treatment to keep them alive in the event of an injury, disease or illness. For example, if a person decides he or she does not want to remain alive with the help of a mechanical ventilator, he or she may state this in a living will. For the will to be valid, the person must be competent at the time of writing and signing, and there must be two witnesses who are not family relations. A person may revoke the instructions in his or her living will at any time. Mental capacity does not matter, as long as the person is able to clearly communicate his or her wish to revoke the will to a physician.

A person creating a living will or advance care plan must use the proper language. Tennessee’s Health Care Finance and Administration department provides instructions for residents who wish to create an advance directive or living will. There is also a standardized form that residents may use to make their wishes clear and legally binding. With a complete and valid living will or advance care plan, Tennessee residents may make their own choices about the medication, treatment and end-of-life care.