Advance Medical Directive
Before a person becomes incapacitated, they can state in advance, their wishes for end-of-life care and treatment. This legal document, sometimes called a “living will” or “advance medical directive” is known in Texas as a “Directive to Physicians and Family or Surrogates”. Hospitals and treating physicians often ask patients when they come in for a surgery, or other medical procedure requiring sedation, whether they have an advance medical directive.
An advance medical directive informs your agent acting under a medical power of attorney, and your family and physicians, how you want to be cared for if you are in a “terminal condition” or “irreversible condition” due to some medical condition, illness, or disease, and are incapacitated—unable to make medical decisions for yourself. In an advance medical directive, you can tell your agent, family, and physicians whether you want to die gently and receive comfort treatment only, or if you want to be kept alive using all available “life-sustaining treatment”, in the event you are in a “terminal condition” or “irreversible condition”.
Life-sustaining treatment includes both life-sustaining medications and artificial life support such as mechanical breathing machines, kidney dialysis treatment, and artificially administered nutrition and hydration (a tube inserted through the vein or gastrointestinal tract to administer food and water). Comfort treatment includes administration of pain management medication, the performance of a medical procedure necessary to provide comfort care, or any other medical care provided to alleviate a person’s pain.
An advance medical directive must be signed by the individual and two witnesses. The advance medical directive can also be signed by a notary in lieu of two witnesses. You should consult an estate planning attorney to discuss the legal effect of signing an advance medical directive and to obtain assistance with executing and signing an advance medical directive in accordance with Texas law.
The information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and is NOT legal advice. You should consult an estate planning attorney if you have any questions about the information contained on this page or about your particular circumstances or those of someone you know.
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