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Estate Planning

Advance Directive for Health Care (AD)

Establishes directions for the providing, withholding, or withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and artificially provided nutrition and hydration if you are terminally ill or permanently unconsciousness.

You can also appoint a health care proxy.

Alabama's Advance Directive for Health Care

There is a standard form for the AD

Alabama has had a "standardized" Advance Directive since 2001. The Code of Alabama (1975) states, "The advance directive for health care shall be substantially in the following form, but in addition may include other specific directions." §22-8A-4.

Health Care Proxy

The proxy can make any health care decisions the principal could make but for lack of capacity.

Execution of the AD

Any advance directive for health care shall be: in writing, signed by the person making the AD, dated, and signed in the presence of two or more witnesses at least 19 years of age.

When does the AD become effective

An AD shall become effective when

  • the attending physician determines that the declarant is no longer able to understand, appreciate, and direct his or her medical treatment; and
  • two physicians . . . have diagnosed and documented . . . that the declarant has either a terminal illness or injury or is in a state of permanent unconsciousness

The AD may be revoked at any time.

The Advance Directive is a living document that may be amended or revoked while the declarant has capacity.