Find the right lawyer now

Advance Directive Lawyers

Find a Local Personal Injury Lawyer near You

What Are Advance Directives?

Advance directives are becoming one of the most important aspects of elder law in the United States. With the population of elderly increasing every year, their medical wishes have become the subject of great scrutiny and confusion. Advance directives allow individuals to determine in advance what type of medical treatment they wish to proceed with if unable to effectively communicate their wishes.

Are Advance Directives Known by Other Names?

Generally advance directives are known by two different identities. These include: 

  • Living Will - A living will is a document that allows a person that is living to make the medical decisions in case they should become incapacitated.
  • Durable Power of Attorney - A durable power of attorney is a document signed in the presence of a witness. This document usually names a person who has the legal authority to make medical decisions in your place.

Can My Advance Directive Be Cancelled?

An advance directive can be cancelled at any time. However, it is important that a person who creates an advance directive notify a person of its existence.

What Steps Should I Take after Creating an Advance Directive?

There are a variety of steps that a person who has created an advance directive should take after its creation. These include: 

  • Giving a copy to your physician.
  • Keeping a small card in your wallet indicating that an advance directive exists. This can help emergency medical physicians follow your wishes.
  • Make sure your advance directive is located in a safe location.

Should I Consult an Attorney about Advance Directives?

Creating legally binding advance directive can be very difficult. An experienced wills and trusts attorney can help you to understand advance directives. A wills and trust attorney can also help you comply with applicable state laws regarding medical decisions.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 02-21-2014 03:45 PM PST

Law Library Disclaimer
  • No fee to present your case
  • Choose from lawyers in your area
  • A 100% confidential service
What is LegalMatch?

We've helped more than 4 million clients find the right lawyer – for free. Present your case online in minutes. LegalMatch matches you to pre-screened lawyers in your city or county based on the specifics of your case. Within 24 hours experienced local lawyers review it and evaluate if you have a solid case. If so, attorneys respond with an offer to represent you that includes a full attorney profile with details on their fee structure, background, and ratings by other LegalMatch users so you can decide if they're the right lawyer for you.