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An Advance Directive is a legal document that sets forth your preferences related to health care, such as your refusal of or request for medical treatment, or the selection of a chosen healthcare... Read more

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Making an Advance Directive

  • What is an Advance Directive?

    An Advance Directive is a legal document that sets forth your preferences related to health care, such as your refusal of or request for medical treatment, or the selection of a chosen healthcare agent.

    The person making an Advance Directive is known as the "principal," and the person or organization obtaining authority to carry out the principal's wishes is called the "agent." Each Advance Healthcare Directive from Rocket Lawyer can be modified for your specific scenario. This official legal document provides a record of your decisions to healthcare facilities, and it will certify that your selected agent has been authorized to make choices for you when you are not able.

  • How do I write an Advance Directive online for free?

    It is very easy to outline your medical wishes using a free Advance Directive template from Rocket Lawyer:

    1. Make your Advance Directive - Provide a few general details, and we will do the rest
    2. Send and share it - Look over it with your healthcare agent(s) or ask a legal question
    3. Sign and make it legal - Mandatory or not, witnesses and notarization are recommended

    This route, in many cases, will be notably less time-consuming than hiring a conventional law firm. If needed, you may fill out an Advance Directive on behalf of an elderly parent, a spouse, or another family member, and then have that person sign it once you've drafted it. Please remember that for this document to be valid, the principal must be an adult who is mentally competent at the time of signing. In the event that the principal has already been declared incompetent, a court-appointed conservatorship generally will be required. When facing such a situation, it is important to speak to a lawyer.

  • What does an Advance Directive cover?

    Unless limited, an Advance Directive gives your agent very broad authority to make all healthcare decisions for you including:

    • Consenting or refusing to consent to any care, treatment, service or procedure to maintain, diagnose or otherwise affect a physical or mental condition
    • Selecting or discharging healthcare providers or institutions
    • Approving or disapproving diagnostic tests, surgical procedures and programs of medication
    • Directing the provision, withholding or withdrawal of artificial nutrition and hydration and all other forms of healthcare, including pulmonary resuscitation
    • Making anatomical gifts, authorizing an autopsy and directing disposition of remains.
  • Can I limit or specify my agent's authority?

    In your Advance Directive you may limit your agent's authority to make decisions for you by stating your wishes.

    If you do not want your life prolonged under all circumstances, our Advance Directive helps guide you in making this very important decision by giving you some choices about specific situations in which you may not want your life to be prolonged, such as:

    • If you have an irreversible condition and death will occur soon
    • If you are permanently unconscious
    • If the risks of treatment outweigh the benefits

    If you do not want to receive food and fluids artificially regardless of your condition, you may specify this limitation. If you wish, you may also state under what circumstances you do not want treatment to alleviate pain or discomfort.Finally, you may can convey your instructions regarding organ or tissue donations, including not wanting donation for any purposes or defining the purposes for which you would want your organs or tissues to be donated.

  • When does an Advance Directive come into effect?

    You may choose to have your Advance Directive become effective immediately (even if you are still capable of making your own healthcare decisions) or to have your Advance Directive only become effective when you are incapable of making healthcare decisions for yourself (The latter is the more common scenario.)

  • Why should I have an Advance Directive?

    Every person over 18 years old should have an Advance Healthcare Directive (both a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will) in place. While it's difficult to think about, there will likely come a time when you cannot make medical decisions on your own. Here are a few common situations where it might be useful to make or update your Advance Directive:

    • You are preparing to move into an adult care facility
    • You've been diagnosed with a terminal condition
    • You are aging or dealing with ongoing health issue
    • You are undergoing an in-patient procedure requiring anesthesia

    Whether your Advance Directive has been made as a result of a change in your health or as part of a forward-looking plan, notarization and/or witnesses are strongly recommended for protecting this document and your agent if someone challenges their privileges. Please note that this document is not valid during pregnancy in all states.

  • Do I need an attorney for my Advance Directive?

    Making an Advance Directive is usually simple; however, you or your agent(s) could have legal questions. Locating someone to review your document could take a lot of time if you do it by yourself. Another approach to consider is to request help from Rocket Lawyer attorney services. Premium members can ask for feedback from an experienced lawyer or ask additional legal questions. As always, you can Live Confidently® with Rocket Lawyer by your side.

  • What would I normally need to pay for an attorney to help me make an Advance Directive?

    The cost of finding and hiring a legal provider to produce an Advance Directive could total between $200 and $1,000. Rocket Lawyer isn't a run-of-the-mill Advance Directive template website. With our service, anyone under a Rocket Lawyer membership has access to up to 40% in savings when hiring an attorney from our network.

  • Am I required to do anything else after I have drafted an Advance Directive?

    After completing an Advance Directive with Rocket Lawyer, you will have the ability to open it wherever and whenever you choose. You also can try any or all of these actions with your document: editing it, printing it, and/or signing it. Attached to your Advance Healthcare Directive, you will find a set of instructions on what comes next after the document is finished. Your agent(s), care providers, and other impacted parties should receive copies of your final document.

  • Does an Advance Directive need to be notarized or witnessed?

    The requirements and restrictions governing Advance Directives are different in each state; however, it is strongly recommended to have your Advance Directive signed by at least one witness and/or notarized to emphasize its legitimacy. As a basic principle, witnesses will need to be at least 18 years old, and none should simultaneously be your healthcare agent.

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