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April 11, 2012

Law for Older Americans

Health Care Advance Directives

What is a health care advance directive?

A health care advance directive is the primary legal tool for any health care decision made when you cannot speak for yourself. "Health care advance directive" is the general term for any written statement you make while competent concerning your future health care wishes. Formal advance directives include the living will and the health care power of attorney.

These legal tools evolved separately in the law, but today they are typically merged in a single, comprehensive advance directive. AARP, the ABA, and the AMA have collaborated on a sample comprehensive form. It is available on the ABA website at

>>What is a health care advance directive?
>>How do you plan a health care advance directive?
>>Is a health care advance directive the same as a living will?
>>Why can't I just tell my doctor what I want?
>>Will doctors and hospitals recognize my advance directive?
>>What is the Patient Self-Determination Act?
>>How do you write an advance directive?
>>What kinds of decisions does a health-care agent make?
>>How do you select a health-care agent?
>>Are there any formalities of signing an advance directive?
>>Can you change or terminate your advance directive?
>>Where should you keep the directive?
>>When should you review your advance directive?
>>Is an advance directive still good when you cross state lines?

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