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Are advance directives valid in all states?

by Viki Kind, End-of-Life Expert
April 21, 2016

Question: Are advance directives valid in all states?

Answer: Each state has its own law regarding advance healthcare directives.  Some states accept the advance directives from other states and others do not.  If you live in one state but spend the winters in a different state or spend a lot of time in another place, you may want to get an advance directive for both states.  Here is a great website to help you get the right document for where you live:  http://www.caringinfo.org/stateaddownload    And don’t forget that In some states, the advance healthcare directive combines both the “who you want to make your decisions” form with the “what I would want done” form.  In other states, they are two separate documents and may be called something different than an advance directive.

For those who are medically frail or in the last year of life, you may also want to complete the POLST (MOLST, MOST, POST, etc.) document if it is available in your state.  You can find out if your state has this option at http://www.polst.org/programs-in-your-state/  This form must be completed with your doctor. 

Have a kind and respectful day.

Viki Kind is a clinical bioethicist, professional speaker, and hospice volunteer. Her book, The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices For Those Who Can't,” guides families and professionals through the difficult process of advocating for those who can no longer speak for themselves. She has recently launched a DVD that includes a template to create a quality-of-life statement.

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