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Making an Advance Directive in Massachusetts
A Massachusetts Advance Directive is a document that sets forth your preferences in relation to health care, such as your acceptance or refusal of certain medical treatments or procedures, and/or the selection of a healthcare decision maker (i.e.: your healthcare proxy.)
The person making an Advance Directive is known as the "principal," and the individual or entity gaining authority to carry out the principal's wishes is known as the "agent." Any Massachusetts Advance Directive from Rocket Lawyer can be fully personalized to address your specific circumstances. As a result of this document, your agent will have a point of reference for your decisions, and they will be able to provide proof that they have been given the authority to act in your interest. It is important to note that under Massachusetts law, medical practioners are not legally required to follow your written guidelines for treatment. That said, they must regard your agent's decisions as your own, so outlining your preferences is still very important.
It is fast and easy to set forth your medical preferences using a free Massachusetts Advance Directive template from Rocket Lawyer:
This route will often end up being much less expensive than meeting and hiring a traditional lawyer. If needed, you may start this Advance Directive on behalf of your spouse or another family member, and then help that person sign once you've drafted it. Please note that for this document to be valid, the principal must be an adult who is mentally competent when they sign. In the event that the principal has already been declared legally incompetent, a court-appointed conservatorship generally will be necessary. In such a situation, it's a good idea for you to work with a lawyer.
If you are over 18 years old, you ought to have an Advance Healthcare Directive (both a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will) in place. While it is tough to think about, a day might come when you are no longer able to make your own medical decisions. Here are a few typical occasions where you may consider it helpful to make or update your Advance Directive:
Whether your Massachusetts Advance Directive has been made in response to a recent change in your health or as part of a forward-looking plan, witnesses and notarization are strongly encouraged for protecting this document and your agent if their power and authority are disputed by a third party.
Making an Advance Directive is typically simple; however, you or your agent(s) may need advice. Depending on whom you approach, some attorneys may not even accept requests to review a document if they were not the author. An easier approach would be to request help from the On Call network. With a Premium membership, you have the ability to request guidance from an experienced attorney or ask additional questions about your Advance Directive. As always, we are here for you.
The fees associated with meeting and hiring a traditional legal provider to write an Advance Directive could total anywhere between two hundred and one thousand dollars, depending on where you are located. When you use Rocket Lawyer, you are not just filling out an Advance Directive template. If you ever need help from a lawyer, your membership provides up to 40% in savings when you hire an attorney from our On Call network.
With a membership, you can make edits, download it in PDF format or as a Word file, and/or print it. In order to wrap up your Advance Directive, it must be signed. Your agent(s) and care providers should get copies of your fully executed document.
The guidelines and restrictions for Advance Directives are different in each state; however, in Massachusetts, as a basic principle, your witnesses must be 18 years old or older. None of them should also be named as your healthcare agent. Please note that unlike a Health Care Proxy (also known as Healthcare Power of Attorney), there are no laws regarding Living Wills specifically, as they are not officially recognized in the state.
Legal references for an Advance Directive in Massachusetts: § 201D-2