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Writing an advance directive legal document is essential in helping you plan for your healthcare needs while incapacitated.

If you have specific desires for what kind of medical care you wish to receive and cannot consent yourself, an advance directive is used to make sure your wishes are followed. They are binding and must be followed by any doctors or physicians treating you.

Before writing an advance directive yourself it’s absolutely crucial to make sure you understand correctly how to choose and prepare your document. We’ve gathered 4 key tips to help get yours right and access your desired type of healthcare if you fall ill or are injured.

The 3 Most Widely Used Advance Directive Types

While there are several types of advance directives available, the 3 most commonly used types preferred by patients and healthcare professionals are:

  • Living wills: This kind of advance directive lists medical treatments and procedures that patients are willing to undergo and serves as a guide to medical personnel.
  • Medical Power of Attorney (POA):

    Patients delegate authority to their person of trust, who then make medical decisions for them, acting as their Attorney-in-Fact. A Medical Power of Attorney should contain a list of treatments the patient authorizes and refuses.

  • Health care proxy: Another similar legal document that allows you to appoint another person (or proxy) to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate yourself.

Which Type of Advance Directive Should I Choose?

There is no one-size-fits-all advance directive. It depends on your particular situation. Some work best when you become mentally incapacitated through aging, while others are more suitable for sudden or severe illnesses.

A living will is the best option for those wanting to plan in advance in case of an accident or suffering from a critical condition. The reason is that it can only become effective once the patient is completely paralyzed or has fallen into a coma.

A healthcare proxy or medical power of attorney is typically more appropriate for people planning for end-of-life arrangements. These types of advance directives only take effect when the patient can no longer decide for themselves and a trusted agent has to take over.

There Are a Few Situations Where an Advance Directive Can be Crucial

Many people use advance directives to plan for sickness and advanced age. They are normally only activated in the event of a loss of decision-making capacity and to ensure that an individual’s medical wishes are respected in the event of a sudden illness or a health emergency.

In most cases, advanced directives will come into effect after you have fallen into a coma, suffered a stroke, or experienced any medical issue that prevents you from consenting to treatment.

For example, someone who has been diagnosed with a terminal condition like cancer may create an advance directive to opt out of invasive treatment during the final phases of the disease.

Despite the fact that most people intend to use these legal instruments when they are elderly or already sick, an advanced directive form can be completed and signed at any age once you are over 18. This lets individuals create contingency plans well ahead of any sudden illness or incapacity in the future.

Don’t Forget to Add These Details to your Advance Directive

When you write your own advance directive, it is important you give as much information as possible about your desired treatment and values judgments. These will help your appointed agent or a doctor clearly see your preferences and act on them quickly and effectively.

You will usually need to include the following details:

  • The name and contact details of your agent
  • Your healthcare values and choices
  • Medical treatments you will accept or refuse
  • Preferences for where you would like to receive care
  • Whether or not you are happy to donate your organs or tissues
  • The signatures of you and your agent

Communicate Your Decisions to Your Family First

It’s sensible to talk through your choice of healthcare decisions, agent, and treatment preferences with close family before enacting an advance directive.

As family members can effectively annul a patient's advance directive, it is highly recommended to properly communicate wishes in case of disability, imminent death, and illness. Otherwise, conflicts can quickly surface.

Disagreeing family members can go to court and request temporary conservatorship, a form of guardianship for disabled individuals. If conceded, the advance directive would have no effect.

However, this doesn’t often happen, especially if it can be shown that you came to your own decision without external pressures or duress to sign the document. This is also why you should choose an agent who will comply with your wishes.

Whilst your family can ultimately remove a delinquent agent, it can be a lengthy and difficult process. The idea of an advance directive is to create peace of mind rather than extra challenges of course.

Advance directives are an excellent tool to get control of end-of-life situations, where decisive medical procedures may be necessary. Particularly those with a terminal illness, as well as older people, can benefit from this type of document.

It’s easy to create documents that appoint trusted agents online. Simply use our legal form writing tools to get your future wishes properly looked after.


Start a Advance Directive Now

Writing an advance directive legal document is essential in helping you plan for your healthcare needs while incapacitated.

If you have specific desires for what kind of medical care you wish to receive and cannot consent yourself, an advance directive is used to make sure your wishes are followed. They are binding and must be followed by any doctors or physicians treating you.

Before writing an advance directive yourself it’s absolutely crucial to make sure you understand correctly how to choose and prepare your document. We’ve gathered 4 key tips to help get yours right and access your desired type of healthcare if you fall ill or are injured.

The 3 Most Widely Used Advance Directive Types

While there are several types of advance directives available, the 3 most commonly used types preferred by patients and healthcare professionals are:

  • Living wills: This kind of advance directive lists medical treatments and procedures that patients are willing to undergo and serves as a guide to medical personnel.
  • Medical Power of Attorney (POA):

    Patients delegate authority to their person of trust, who then make medical decisions for them, acting as their Attorney-in-Fact. A Medical Power of Attorney should contain a list of treatments the patient authorizes and refuses.

  • Health care proxy: Another similar legal document that allows you to appoint another person (or proxy) to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to communicate yourself.

Which Type of Advance Directive Should I Choose?

There is no one-size-fits-all advance directive. It depends on your particular situation. Some work best when you become mentally incapacitated through aging, while others are more suitable for sudden or severe illnesses.

A living will is the best option for those wanting to plan in advance in case of an accident or suffering from a critical condition. The reason is that it can only become effective once the patient is completely paralyzed or has fallen into a coma.

A healthcare proxy or medical power of attorney is typically more appropriate for people planning for end-of-life arrangements. These types of advance directives only take effect when the patient can no longer decide for themselves and a trusted agent has to take over.

There Are a Few Situations Where an Advance Directive Can be Crucial

Many people use advance directives to plan for sickness and advanced age. They are normally only activated in the event of a loss of decision-making capacity and to ensure that an individual’s medical wishes are respected in the event of a sudden illness or a health emergency.

In most cases, advanced directives will come into effect after you have fallen into a coma, suffered a stroke, or experienced any medical issue that prevents you from consenting to treatment.

For example, someone who has been diagnosed with a terminal condition like cancer may create an advance directive to opt out of invasive treatment during the final phases of the disease.

Despite the fact that most people intend to use these legal instruments when they are elderly or already sick, an advanced directive form can be completed and signed at any age once you are over 18. This lets individuals create contingency plans well ahead of any sudden illness or incapacity in the future.

Don’t Forget to Add These Details to your Advance Directive

When you write your own advance directive, it is important you give as much information as possible about your desired treatment and values judgments. These will help your appointed agent or a doctor clearly see your preferences and act on them quickly and effectively.

You will usually need to include the following details:

  • The name and contact details of your agent
  • Your healthcare values and choices
  • Medical treatments you will accept or refuse
  • Preferences for where you would like to receive care
  • Whether or not you are happy to donate your organs or tissues
  • The signatures of you and your agent

Communicate Your Decisions to Your Family First

It’s sensible to talk through your choice of healthcare decisions, agent, and treatment preferences with close family before enacting an advance directive.

As family members can effectively annul a patient's advance directive, it is highly recommended to properly communicate wishes in case of disability, imminent death, and illness. Otherwise, conflicts can quickly surface.

Disagreeing family members can go to court and request temporary conservatorship, a form of guardianship for disabled individuals. If conceded, the advance directive would have no effect.

However, this doesn’t often happen, especially if it can be shown that you came to your own decision without external pressures or duress to sign the document. This is also why you should choose an agent who will comply with your wishes.

Whilst your family can ultimately remove a delinquent agent, it can be a lengthy and difficult process. The idea of an advance directive is to create peace of mind rather than extra challenges of course.

Advance directives are an excellent tool to get control of end-of-life situations, where decisive medical procedures may be necessary. Particularly those with a terminal illness, as well as older people, can benefit from this type of document.

It’s easy to create documents that appoint trusted agents online. Simply use our legal form writing tools to get your future wishes properly looked after.


Start a Advance Directive Now