When it comes to estate planning, one crucial but potentially little-known aspect is the advanced medical directive. Advanced medical directives are indeed valid in Virginia, and are the topic of this week’s installment of the blog. Please keep reading to learn more about advanced medical directives and how they can be a part of the process when you are drawing up plans for your estate, or for that of a loved one.
Some Criteria for Advanced Medical Directives
On our website, we establish some basic criteria for implementing advanced medical directives. First and foremost is that “any adult capable of making an informed decision may…make a written advance medical directive to address any and all forms of healthcare.” This directive is authorized under Virginia law to prepare for a potential situation in which the adult is considered incapable of making informed healthcare decisions later on.
In order to be considered legally binding, the directive must be signed by the person creating it (the declarant) in the presence of two witnesses. Some other elements of an advanced medical directive include designating an agent to represent the declarant. This agent will have the authority to make healthcare decisions in the place of the declarant.
Other Elements of Advanced Medical Directives
There are many things to consider when drafting an advanced medical directive. The declarant can specify their wishes about the type of healthcare they do or do not want. If they wish for no life-saving options, then they can include a Do Not Resuscitate provision.
Declarants can also specify an anatomical gift, such as donating an organ or body tissue for research or other purposes. The declarants themselves, however, are obligated to inform their physician that such a directive has been arranged. If the directive has already been submitted to the Advance Health Care Directive Registry, then several people must be given the authorization to access the record of it in the registry. These authorized people may include the physician, legal representative, and/or the declarant’s agent, or any other person they wish to be entrusted with the necessary information.
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