Advance Directive Laws Explained
Planning ahead is a good way to ensure you get the health care treatment you want when the time comes.
What happens in a situation when you are unable to communicate your wishes regarding medical procedures? Advance directive laws let you appoint a health care proxy and create an advance directive, medical power of attorney, and living will. Your health care provider needs to respect the medical preferences you have specified in these documents.
- Signed in front of witnesses
Advance directives usually include the following two forms:
|Advance Directive Forms||Details|
|A medical power of attorney (POA)||A health care power of attorney is a document you should prepare to name a person—called an agent or health care proxy—to make decisions about your medical treatment in case you cannot make them for yourself|
|Living will||You should produce a living will to give instructions regarding end-of-life situations, i.e., if you are:
To get familiar with advance directive terminology, take a look at the following table that lists different names you can come across:
|Health Care Agent||Medical Power of Attorney|
|Aside from a health care agent, the person you choose to make medical decisions for you is also called:
||A medical power of attorney can also be referred to as:
Keep in mind that:
- Some U.S. states recognize a slight difference between a medical POA and health care proxy
- There is a difference between an advance directive and medical power of attorney. The latter form is part of the former more comprehensive document, together with a physician directive
A directive to physicians is another name for a living will. It is a legal document that specifies your wishes about the medical treatment you want or do not want to receive in case your health condition is terminal or irreversible.
To make sure your health care preferences are respected, you should provide a list of all treatments you approve and disapprove of. If you would like to get a better understanding of medical decisions that you should specify in this document, you could think about the following:
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Body, organ, and tissue donations
- Mechanical ventilation
- Palliative care
- Tube feeding
Keep in mind that you should not confuse a directive to physicians with a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order as these are different forms.
Advance directive laws do not require you to hire a lawyer to draft an advance health care directive, medical POA, or living will.
Instead of using this costly service, you could consider the following options:
- Use online templates—There are numerous forms available on different websites. You should inspect them carefully and change them to suit your needs and state laws
- Use DoNotPay—Our AI-powered app can generate an airtight advance directive, medical POA, and living will tailored to your wishes in minutes!
Our robot lawyer is familiar with state legislation and will ensure your preferences for health care fit the legal framework.
Sign up for DoNotPay and:
- Head to the Advance Health Care Directive product
- Type in the name of your health care agent and enter your medical wishes
- Specify the powers you are granting your agent and treatments you want and do not want to receive
- Enter the names of the witnesses
Keep in mind that according to advance directive laws, you need to get an advance directive document witnessed or notarized. DoNotPay can help you with the latter by connecting you with an online notary.
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