A health care directive is a legal document that allows a person to identify and list someone authorized to make medical decisions for him or her if the person is unable to do so.
You also may include the types of medical care you’d like to receive or not receive. A health care directive is empowering and allows a person to exercise his or her rights over health care, even if unable to make those decisions in the moment. It provides peace of mind and stops unwanted medical treatments before they start. You can change your directive throughout life.
Who needs a health care directive?
In my opinion, every adult needs a health care directive. I include it in all estate planning for clients. While you do not need an attorney to prepare your directive, I have found that this is a document many people tend to put off because it can present uncomfortable situations and decisions. I also have found that when clients are in planning mode, it’s a good time to think about and prepare these documents.
Numerous forms are available from your health care provider and other reputable sources online. You do not need an attorney to prepare a health care directive.
How is a health care directive different from other documents?
Previously, separate documents such as a living will, durable health care power of attorney and mental health declarations were necessary to fully set forth your wishes about your health care. Now, the health care directive includes all of a person’s health care instructions in one document.
Can I use my health care directive from one state to another?
If a directive is valid in the state where it was signed, many other states will honor it. But each state has its own rules and procedures. If you are concerned about this, consult with an attorney in the state in question.
How long do health care directives last?
These directives do not expire. They last until you change or cancel them. It is a good idea to review your directive every few years and whenever you face critical illness or medical procedures.
Does a health care directive need to be notarized?
Minnesota requires that a 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, 218-293-7334