A Health Care Directive is a legal document that allows a person to identify and list someone else who is authorized to make medical decisions for them if they are not able to do so. You may also include the types of medical care you’d like to receive (or not receive) in various circumstances. A health care directive is empowering and allows those with one to exercise rights over their own health care. It provides peace of mind and the benefit of setting up a Health Care Directive before a crisis is it stops unwanted medical treatments before they start. Also, you can change your Health Care Directive as your situation changes and evolves.

Who needs health care directives?

In my opinion, EVERY ADULT needs a Health Care Directive! I include the preparation of a Health Care Directive in the estate planning I do for clients. While you do not need an attorney to prepare your Health Care Directive, I have found that it is a document that people tend to put off. I also have found that when clients are in the future planning mode, it is a good time and it makes sense to think about these issues and prepare these documents.

Numerous forms are available from your healthcare provider and other reputable sources online. You do not need an attorney to prepare a Health Care Directive for you.

What is the difference between a Health Care Directive, a Living Will, and a Durable Health Care Power of Attorney?

Previously, separate documents – such as the Living Will, the Durable Health Care Power of Attorney, and mental health declarations – were necessary to fully set forth your wishes about your health care. A Medical Power of Attorney named a person to act for you, while the Living Will set forth instructions or guidance about the health care decisions to be made for you. Now, the Health Care Directive includes all of a person’s health care instructions in one document. The older documents may still be valid if they have all of the requirements of the current Health Care Directive

Can I use my health directive from one state to another?

If a Health Care Directive is valid in the state in which it was signed, many other states will honor it. However, each state has its own rules and procedures. If you are concerned about this, please consult with an attorney in the state in question.

How long do health care directives last?

Health Care Directives do not expire. A Health Care Directive lasts until you change or cancel it. It is a good idea to review your Health Care Directive every few years and if you know you are facing a critical illness or medical procedures.

Does a health care directive need to be notarized?

Minnesota requires that a Health Care Directive be either notarized or witnessed by two people.

Are you looking for help with a Health Care Directive? Call estate planning attorney, Amy Kuronen at: 218-293-7334