When a person chooses to make a Living Will, along with the Medical Power of Attorney, these two legal documents become an Advance Directive.
An Advance Directive may include your sign, names of witnesses, their signatures, etc. in adherence to your state’s requirements. Every state has different requirements to be followed. Some states ask for witnesses and notaries, others look for different criteria to be followed.
Likewise, some states consider Living Will and Advance Directive as different and separate documents, whereas others consider both documents the same. In some states, Living Will and Advance Directive are used interchangeably.
In this article, you will get a complete guide for making an Advance Directive for Healthcare in Virginia.
Legal Requirements for a valid Advance Directive
- Written by the grantor (maker of an Advance Directive): Yes
- Grantor must be:
- Above the age of 18 years: Yes
- Sound mind and memory: Yes
- Signed by the grantor: Yes
- Signed by Proxy/Agent: No
- Proxy/agent accepts his role in writing: No
- Witness required: Yes
- Number of witnesses: 2
- Signed by the witnesses: Yes
- Number of documents required: 1
- Other names for a Living Will in Virginia: Advance Medical Directive
- Other names for a Healthcare Power of attorney in Virginia: Advance Medical Directive
- Proxy can decide on mental health issues, nontherapeutic sterilization, abortion, or psychosurgery: No
Who can be your witnesses in the Virginia Advance Directive?
Anyone can be your witness in Virginia if;
- He is an adult i.e., above 18 years of age,
- He is a sound-minded person which means that he can understand the consequences of making an Advance Directive and the laws applied to it,
- your supervising health care provider/ his employer or a person related to you by blood or marriage.
Who can be your Proxy in the Virginia Advance Directive?
Anyone can be your Proxy/Agent in Virginia if;
- He is an adult i.e., above 18 years of age, and
- He is a sound-minded person which means that he can understand the consequences of making an Advance Directive and the laws applied to it.
Other than the above legal requirements, the Proxy/Agent should be:
- Trustable to adhere to your wishes and intentions.
- Trustable to defend you if there’s any disagreement about your medical care.
- He wanted to be your Attorney in Fact of his own free will to take care of your health affairs.
- He should not be your doctor or one of the caretakers.
Note: You can appoint an Alternate Proxy as well. The alternative Proxy/Agent will step in if the first person you name as a proxy is unable, unwilling, or unavailable to act for you or if you decide to revoke his authority.
Notarization required for Virginia Advance Directive?
Notarization is not required in Virginia. However, the state of Virginia maintains an Advance Directive Registry where you can fill your Advance Directive. Your healthcare providers and loved ones will easily find a copy of your directive if you file your advance directive with the registry.
Learn about the requirements of Virginia Last Will and Testament and Virginia Last Will and Testament Template.
When does an Advance Directive come into effect in Virginia?
In Virginia, an Advance Directive becomes legally binding but doesn’t come into effect on signing the form by the grantor, proxy, and witnesses. An Advance directive comes into effect only when the doctor declares that you are incapable of deciding on your behalf and have become debilitated due to illness or injury.
Note: Your Virginia Advance Directive will not be effective in any medical crisis or emergency. Ambulance and hospital emergency department personnel are required to provide cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) unless they are given a separate directive that states otherwise.
How can an Advance Directive be revoked?
You can revoke or terminate your Virginia Advance Directive anytime by:
- A written revocation or directing another person to do the same on your behalf,
- An oral revocation,
- Tearing, burning, and obliterating or destroying the document in any other way.
- Executing a new Advance Directive.
Note: Revocation of the Advance Directive will be effective once you communicate and convey it to your doctor/attending physician.
Also, make sure to file any modifications in your Virginia Advance Directive at the Virginia registry.
How to amend or change an Advance Directive?
You can make changes or amend your Advance Directive at any time in Virginia but once you have signed and witnessed/notarized it you have to complete a new document with the required changes. It is recommended to go through, double-check, and make sure of everything before signing the Advance Directive.
Sections of the Virginia Advance Directive Form
Section 1: Power of attorney for health care
You can fill this form out and provide all the details. This section allows you to appoint the Healthcare Attorney-in-fact/Agent and fill in his information along with the instructions for him to follow.
Section 2: Individual’s Instructions (Living Will)
This section states your wishes regarding medical care when your doctor determines that either:
- that you are terminally ill and to prolong artificially your life you would need artificial life-sustaining procedures or your death will occur with or without the use of life-sustaining procedures, or
- that you are in a persistent vegetative state.
Section 3: Donations of Organs at death
Section 4: Execution
You must sign in the presence of two witnesses. The details of the witnesses along with their signs are also required. This section of the Virginia Advance Directive form also states you are allowed to revoke the Advance Directive at any time.
Give photocopies of the signed original to your agent and alternate agent, doctor(s), family, close friends, clergy, and anyone else who might become involved in your health care. If you enter a nursing home or hospital, have photocopies of your document placed in your medical records.
Be sure to talk to your agent(s), doctor(s), clergy, family, and friends about your wishes concerning medical treatment. Discuss your wishes with them often, particularly if your medical condition changes.