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 Massachusetts.
Legal Requirements for a valid Advance Directive
- Written by the grantor/declarant (i.e. the 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/direct any person to sign on your behalf
- 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 Massachusetts: Advance Directive
- Other names for a Healthcare Power of attorney in Massachusetts: Advance Directive
- Proxy can decide on mental health issues: No
Who can be your witnesses in the Massachusetts Advance Directive?
Anyone can be your witness in Massachusetts 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.
Note: Your witnesses cannot be:
- Your healthcare proxy/agent.
Who can be your Proxy in the Massachusetts Advance Directive?
Anyone can be your Proxy/Agent in Massachusetts 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 being a witness to 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 Massachusetts Advance Directive?
You do not need to notarize your Advance Directive in Massachusetts.
When does an Advance Directive come into effect in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, an Advance Directive becomes legally valid 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 own and have become debilitated due to illness or injury.
Note: Your Massachusetts Advance Directive will not be effective in any medical crisis or emergency unless you are declared incapacitated to understand and communicate your wishes and consent by your doctor.
How can an Advance Directive be revoked?
You can revoke or terminate your Massachusetts Advance Directive (other than the designation of your agent) at anytime by:
- A written revocation,
- An oral revocation in presence of your agent/physician,
- 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 when you communicate about it to your doctor and agent.
How to amend or change an Advance Directive?
You can make changes or amend your Advance Directive at any time in Massachusetts but once it was witnessed and signed you have to remake 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.
Massachusetts rules for changing Marital status after making your Advance Directive
Divorce from the spouse will not make any effect on the validity of the Massachusetts Advance Directive unless the spouse was named as an agent in Part 1 of the Advance Directive form, the divorce or annulment of marriage or legal separation will revoke the Advance Directive with immediate effect.
Parts of the Massachusetts Advance Directive Form
Part 1: Appointment of Healthcare Agent
In Part 1, you can fill this form out and provide all the details about the appointment of the Healthcare Proxy/Agent along with the instructions to be followed by him.
Part 2: Donation of organs
Part 3: Execution
You must sign in the presence of two witnesses. The details of the witnesses along with their signs are also required.
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.