An Alabama advance directive form helps you clarify how you want to be treated in medical emergencies or situations where you can’t communicate those preferences. This document allows you to select an agent responsible for making important health care decisions on your behalf, ensuring your wishes are met.
- Statute: Section 22-8A-4, Code of Alabama.
- Signing Requirements: Two (2) Witnesses (§ 22-8A-4(c)(4))
- No statutory notarization requirements
- Over 19 years old
- Not sign on your behalf, nor should they be appointed as your agent within the document.
- State Definition: “A writing executed in accordance with Section 22-8A-4 which may include a living will, the appointment of a health care proxy, or both such living will and appointment of a health care proxy.” (Section 22-8A-3).
- Revocation: Should you choose to rescind your advance directive, you can create a revocation of power of attorney or destroy the document. Additionally, you can outline your wishes for revocation and your updated advance directive in a new document (Section 22-8A-5).
- Effective Date: It becomes effective when your attending physician and another medical professional have determined you have a terminal injury or are in a permanent state of unconsciousness — and you can no longer comprehend or direct your medical treatment.
How to Select Your Agent(s)
The agent highlighted in your advance directive will hold great control over your future, so don’t settle for just anybody. As you consider your options, keep the following points in mind:
- Maturity is essential – Your agent should be over 19 years old, but they should possess considerable emotional maturity beyond that. Sometimes, seemingly ideal candidates struggle under the weight of such a demanding responsibility, so it’s essential to choose carefully.
- Shared personal convictions make executing an advance directive easier. Your goal in establishing an advance directive should be to ensure your wishes are met and make this process easier for your agent. If your agent disagrees with you strongly about the role of life-sustaining treatment, they will struggle to make tough decisions according to your wishes.
- Your agent should have your best interests at heart – This seems obvious, but consider whether your agent stands to gain from taking on such a position. You should feel confident that your agent will abide by your best interests when making difficult or potentially life-changing decisions. Only select somebody you hold in extremely high esteem.
Decisions Your Agent(s) Can Make
Your agent will receive considerable control over your care, although your advance directive can outline the extent of this control. You are permitted to place limitations on your agent’s powers and responsibilities. Otherwise, your agent may be allowed to:
- Secure access to your medical records without a medical records release form.
- Approve your admission to various healthcare facilities.
- Withdraw you from health care facilities.
- Approve the use of or deny certain medications or procedures.
Your agent can direct the withholding or withdrawal of life-sustaining provisions such as artificial hydration or nutrition — but only if required to do so in your advance directive. The need for specific authorization is stated in Title 22, Chapter 8A-4 of the Code of Alabama.
To empower your agent to make non-medical (e.g., real estate or financial) decisions, use an Alabama power of attorney form.
After selecting your agent and highlighting stipulations regarding end-of-life care, review your advance directive thoroughly to ensure it reflects your wishes. If you feel confident in the completed document, you can move forward with its execution.