An advance directive (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 an advance directive. 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, except for psychosurgery, sterilization, abortion or involuntary hospitalization or treatment for mental health issues.
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.
*This is for information purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or recommendations.
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