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A District of Columbia Advance Directive (or "Declaration for Life-Sustaining Procedures") is a legal document that outlines your wishes related to medical care, such as your refusal or acceptance of... Read more

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Making an Advance Directive in District of Columbia

  • What is a District of Columbia Advance Directive?

    A District of Columbia Advance Directive (or "Declaration for Life-Sustaining Procedures") is a legal document that outlines your wishes related to medical care, such as your refusal or acceptance of specific medical treatments and procedures, and/or the selection of a trusted healthcare decision maker.

    The individual 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." Suitable for residents of Washington DC, our free Advance Directive is made for use throughout the district. Each District of Columbia Advance Directive from Rocket Lawyer can be tailored for your particular situation. Creating this official legal document provides proof of your preferences to healthcare providers, and it will certify that your selected representative has been given the authority to make choices for you.

  • How do I make an Advance Directive in the District of Columbia?

    It's very simple to record your medical preferences with a free District of Columbia Advance Directive template from Rocket Lawyer:

    1. Make your Advance Directive - Provide a few details, and we will do the rest
    2. Send or share it - Look over it with your healthcare agent or get legal help
    3. Sign it and make it legal - Required or not, notarization/witnesses are ideal

    This route is, in most cases, much less time-consuming than working with your average attorney. If needed, you can start an Advance Directive on behalf of your spouse, an elderly parent, or another relative, and then help them sign it when ready. Please remember that for this document to be accepted as legally valid, the principal must be mentally competent at the time of signing. In the event that the principal is already incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions, a court-appointed conservatorship might be required. When managing this situation, it's best for you to connect with a lawyer.

  • Who should make 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. Even though it may be difficult to think about, there might come a time when you are no longer able to make your own medical decisions. Common occasions where it may be useful to make or update your Advance Directive include:

    • You are managing a terminal illness
    • You will be planning to undergo a medical procedure that requires anesthesia
    • You are preparing to move into a care facility
    • You are aging or dealing with ongoing health issue

    Regardless of whether your District of Columbia Advance Directive has been generated as part of a long-term plan or made in response to a change in your health, witnesses and notarization can help to protect your agent if a third party questions their power and authority.

  • Do I need to hire a lawyer for my Advance Directive in Washington DC?

    Making an Advance Directive is generally simple, but you may need advice. Locating an attorney to review your Advance Directive could take longer than you expect if you try to do it on your own. An alternate approach to consider is to get help via Rocket Lawyer attorney services. Rocket Lawyer members are able to request advice from an On Call attorney with relevant experience or pose additional legal questions. As always, you can be confident that Rocket Lawyer is here by your side.

  • How much would I normally need to pay to make an Advance Directive in the District of Columbia?

    The cost of finding and working with a traditional legal provider to write an Advance Directive can total anywhere between $200 and $1,000, depending on where you are located. Different from many other websites you might come across, Rocket Lawyer offers more than an Advance Directive template. If you ever need support from a lawyer, your Premium membership offers up to a 40% discount when you hire an On Call attorney.

  • Will there be any additional steps that I will need to take after drafting a District of Columbia Advance Directive?

    Your Advance Directive comes with its own series of tips for what is next after the document is finished. You are encouraged to take any of these actions with your PoA: making edits, saving it as a PDF document or Word file, and signing it. Finally, take care to ensure that your agent(s), care providers, and other impacted parties get their copy of your fully executed document.

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

    The laws for Advance Directives vary in each state; however, in the District of Columbia, your Advance Directive needs two witnesses. A witness should not be anyone who is financially responsible for your healthcare, nor should they be anyone who is an employee of your attending physician or healthcare facility. Heirs, beneficiaries, and family members (including adopted children or your spouse) are also prohibited. As a basic principle, witnesses will need to be at least 18 years old, and no witness should also be designated as your healthcare agent.

    Legal references for an Advance Directive in District of Columbia: § 7-622

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