To create an advance health care directive you will choose an agent and you will complete a form to be witnessed by two witnesses. Your witnesses must be competent adults; legally they cannot be your agent or alternate agent. Also family members including your spouse, siblings, parents or grandparents, children or grandchildren, cannot be witnesses for your advance healthcare directive.
In addition to naming an agent, your advance healthcare directive should indicate which services you are willing to undergo and those which you will decline in the future. This is very important because healthcare professionals are there to provide the greatest treatment and to extend your life whenever possible. Absent the healthcare directive this is exactly what they will do. When following the directives of your proxy, they may forgo any treatments without incurring legal liability.
The State of Vermont has established a registry for advance healthcare directives, providing another record of your choice. Once again Vermont is ahead of the majority of states. You also should be providing record of your health care advance directive to any hospital or physicians where you intend to receive treatment or may possibly receive treatment in the future.
Your advance healthcare directive allows you to receive only the treatment to which you agree, declining those which go against your moral or religious beliefs. By appointing a proxy you give another person the power to make decisions on your behalf. Hopefully this is someone you can place complete trust in and make them aware of all of your wishes. In any event, if you wish to change your advance healthcare directive you simply need to create a new form and distribute it to anyone who may have received the previous form.
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