What makes a health care directive valid?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2024 | Estate Planning

Falling ill and becoming incapacitated can be a tricky situation, especially if your family members are unaware of your wishes concerning your medical needs. These situations can put your family in a tough spot, especially if they have conflicting opinions about what you would have wanted to happen.

Fortunately, you can relay your preferences in advance by documenting them in a health care directive. This legal document can help determine medical decisions when you cannot express them yourself. It can also help you appoint an agent who can make choices on your behalf, covering health-related details only you could have finalized. A health care directive can have various forms, but all of them should meet specific requirements to maintain validity, including the following components:

  • It should have the date when drafted and your name.
  • The person you authorized to sign on your behalf should affix their signature on the document.
  • It should go through notary verification or involve at least two witnesses.
  • It should have clear instructions about your preferred health care decisions and an agent appointment, who decides for you when you are unconscious or mentally incapacitated.

Additionally, consulting your doctor or health care provider when drafting this document can be vital to ensure that your directives are reasonable.

Preparing for unpredictable situations

Estate planning typically involves preparations involving assets and finances, but there are options to help prepare for unpredictable situations, such as medical emergencies. These instances can be challenging for everyone, especially for you, when a single decision can impact your health and life. Consider seeking legal counsel to write up health care directives appropriately to make things easier for your family and health care providers. Experienced guidance can also lighten the load in these uncertain scenarios, potentially benefitting you and your loved ones.