A living will, sometimes known as an advance care directive, is an important part of many people’s estate plan. Under Tennessee law, every person has a fundamental and inherent right to die naturally with as much dignity as circumstances permit. Any competent adult in Tennessee may sign a living will. The document must be either notarized or witnessed by two disinterested witnesses.
In its most basic form, a living will states that if you have an incurable or terminal condition, or are in a vegetative state, you do not want to receive artificial nourishment or life support, or to artificially prolong the dying process. You want to receive only pain-relieving medications, and treatments designed to cure your underlying condition. Importantly, as specified in Tennessee Code Annotated § 32-11-104(b), it is your responsibility, or someone acting on your behalf’s responsibility, to deliver a copy of your living will to your attending physician. The document will then become part of your medical record.
A living will is important because through it, you can communicate to loved ones how you wish to be treated in such a difficult situation. It can prevent your loved ones from having to decide whether to keep you on life support, and ensures that your estate is not exhausted in keeping you alive in a persistent vegetative state.
Everyone has a plan. The question is – Who is in control of yours? If you are interested in setting up a living will for yourself or a family member, I encourage you to contact The Pickler Law Firm at (901) 316-0160 to schedule a free appointment.