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Free Advance Directive Forms

Write an Advance Directive form with our easy-to-follow legal template. Simplify the writing process and leave yourself protected with the correct legal documentation when you need it most.

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Last Update July 26th, 2022

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Medical Power of Attorney
What's the difference?
  • Medical Power of Attorney: it gives an agent the authority to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated.

  • Living Will: it allows an individual to state preferences for medical treatment, focusing on end-of-life decisions.

  • Advance Directive: it includes the instructions collected in a Living Will and in a Medical Power of Attorney.

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What is an Advance Directive

An Advance Medical Directive is a legal document used to set a medical treatment plan in certain circumstances. 

Other names for an Advance Directive include: 

  • Advance Care Directive

  • Advance Medical Directive

  • Health Care Directive

  • Advance Decision Form

An Advance Directive also outlines the treatment preferences and assigns an agent to make decisions if you become unable to. You assign this agent when you are creating your document. 

What is the purpose of an Advance Directive?

The purpose is to give the person who signs it (the principal) the authority to choose medical treatments he or she would like to receive. 

This comes into effect only when the principal becomes unable to communicate, such as in an end-of-life situation.

What Should Be Included in an Advance Directive Form

An Advance Helth Care Directive is a combination of legal documents. In the past, it was common for someone to have a Living Will, a Medical POA, or one of each. 

These are the different parts that should be included within the Advance Directive: 

  • Living Will: This notifies your family and medical personnel of your preference of treatment or operations you would accept or refuse if you are unable to communicate. 

  • Medical Power of Attorney: It assigns the person of your choice to be responsible for making your healthcare decisions. This person is usually a family member or friend. 

LawDistrict provides an Advance Directive template that is simple to follow. With this template, you can make your Directive with ease.

How to Write an Advance Directive

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to write your Advance Directive. This way, you know exactly what to include

  1. Name and Medical POA: Fill in your name to declare the Directive that you are of legal age and sound mind, and assign your agent. Include any limitations your MPOA has on decision-making. 

  2. Alternate Agents: Select up to 3 substitute agents. Include their addresses and phone numbers, as well as their limitations. 

  3. Expiry date: Declare you understand the powers of the Power of Attorney continue indefinitely, or until the day you decide. Choose a day that the Power of Attorney will expire if you prefer this option

  4. Original and copies of the MPOA: Fill in who has your document, as well as the contact information. Include the same information for any copies. 

  5. Living Will: Choose to declare the medical treatment you would or would not receive in an end-of-life situation. Include any other specific instructions if you wish. 

  6. Witness signatures: Include the declaration, contact information and signatures of your witnesses. This includes your signature as well. 

  7. Notarization: If you want to include a notary public as a witness in your Advance Directive, write a declaration for them to sign. 

Take advantage of our Advance Directive template to make this process much simpler

Advance Directive Decisions

When you make an Advance Directive, it is important to think about your choices and medical preferences

What does Advance Directive mean for you? 

If you are drafting an Advance Directive because you want to have control when you are unable to communicate, your decisions could come into effect during one of these medical situations: 

  • Terminal illness: You have an incurable illness.

  • Vegetative state: You are not conscious and there is little hope for improvement.

  • Life support: You cannot live without machines or intervention. 

Advance Directive Laws by State and Requirements

Depending on the state you live in, signing an Advance Directive could have fewer or more requirements. 

Before you write yours, read your state's law and requirements below.

State Signing Requirement Law
Alabama 2 witnesses § 22-8A-4(c)(4)
Alaska 2 witnesses or notary Public §13.52.010(b)
Arizona 1 witness or notary Public § 36-3221(A)(3), § 36-3262
Arkansas 2 witness or notary Public § 20-6-103(c), § 20-17-202
California 2 witnesses or notary Public § 4701
Colorado 2 witnesses or notary Public § 15-18-106(1)
Connecticut 2 witnesses § 19a-575a, § 19a-575
Delaware 2 witnesses § 2503(b)(1)
Florida 2 witnesses § 765.202(1), § 765.302(1)
Georgia 2 witnesses § 31-32-5(c)(1)
Hawaii 2 witnesses or notary Public § 327E-3(b)(1)(2)
Idaho Only the principal § 39-4510
Illinois 2 witnesses § 35/3(b)
Indiana 2 witnesses § 16-36-4-8(b)(5), § 16-36-1-7
Iowa 2 witnesses & notary Public § 144B.3
Kansas 2 witnesses or notary Public § 65-28,103, § 58-632
Kentucky 2 witnesses or notary Public § 311.625(2)
Louisiana 2 witnesses § 28:224, § 40:1151.4
Maine 2 witnesses § 5-803(2)
Maryland 2 witnesses § 5-602(c)
Massachusetts 2 witnesses § 201D-2
Michigan 2 witnesses § 700.5506(4)
Minnesota 2 witnesses or notary Public § 145C.03
Mississippi 2 witnesses or notary Public § 41-41-209
Missouri 2 witnesses & notary Public § 404.705, § 459.015
Montana 2 witnesses § 50–9–103(1), § 53-21-1304(2)(d)
Nebraska 2 witnesses or notary Public § 30-3404(5), § 20-404(1)
Nevada 2 witnesses or notary Public §162A.790(2), §449A.433(1)
New Hampshire 2 witnesses or notary Public § 137-J:14
New Jersey 2 witnesses or notary Public § 26:2H-1
New Mexico Only the principal § 24-7A-2(B), § 24-7A-4
New York 2 witnesses § 2981
North Carolina 2 witnesses or notary public § 90-321, § 32A-16(3)
North Dakota 2 witnesses or notary public § 23-06.5-05
Ohio 2 witnesses or notary public § 2133.02(A)(1), § 1337.12(B)(C)
Oklahoma 2 witnesses § 63-3101.4
Oregon 2 witnesses or notary public §127
Pennsylvania 2 witnesses § 5442, § 5452
Rhode Island 2 witnesses or notary public § 23-4.11-3, § 23-4.10-2
South Carolina 2 witnesses & notary public § 62-5-503, § 62-5-504, § 44-77-40
South Dakota 2 witnesses or notary public § 59-7-2.1, § 34-12D-2
Tennessee 2 witnesses or notary public § 68-11-1803(b), § 34-6-203(a)(3)
Texas 2 witnesses or notary public § 166.154, § 166.164
Utah 1 witness § 75-2a-107(c)
Vermont 2 witnesses § 9703
Virginia 2 witnesses § 54.1-2983
Washington 2 witnesses or notary public § 11.125.050, § 70.122.030
Washington D.C. 2 witnesses § 7-622(a)(4) & § 21–2205(c)
West Virginia 2 witnesses or notary public § 16-30-4(a)
Wisconsin 2 witnesses § 155.10(1)(c), § 154.03(1)
Wyoming 2 witnesses or notary public § 35-22-403(b)

Example of an Advance Directive

Before you write a legal form or document, it is always a good idea to see a sample.

Reviewing what an example of an Advance Directive is will help you write your document. It will:

  • Help you know what to include

  • How to outline your document

  • Ensure you don’t make any mistakes

Look at our example template below:

Advance Directive FAQs

To give you more information about Advance Directives and how to write them, we have included responses to some common questions. 

Use these answers to make sure you have absolutely everything you need to create your documentation.

What is the Difference Between Advance Directive and Living Will

When you make your Advance Directive, another legal document you will have to familiarize yourself with is a Living Will.

Although they go hand-in-hand, they aren’t exactly the same. 

Advance Directive Living Will
Includes preferences regarding end-of-life treatment Includes preferences concerning end-of-life treatment
Assigns a Medical Power of Attorney Does not assign a Medical Power of Attorney
Can prohibit CPR Does not prohibit CPR

Who Can Witness an Advance Directive

Depending on the state you live in, at least 1 witness is almost always mandatory. However, this is not always the case. 

It is recommended to have at least 2 witnesses, even if you aren’t required to have any witnesses. 

Can I Make Changes to My Health Care Directive?

You can make a change to your Advance Directive. All you need to do is destroy the one you currently have. 

After you have gotten rid of your old one, you might need information on how to get an Advance Directive again.

Use LawDistrict’s template to make your new document in a few simple steps.

When Should I Update an Advance Directive

Your Advance Directive should be updated if certain changes happen in your life, such as: 

Always make sure your legal documents are updated, and check our website for any legal needs or forms.

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