Advance Health Care Directives (AHCD) allow you to express your preferences regarding medical decisions in the event you become incapacitated or are otherwise unable to communicate your wishes. An advance directive provides guidance to your doctor and medical providers regarding your medical care, while relieving your loved ones of the burden of having to make important medical decisions for you at a time when they may already be under tremendous stress.
Alabama recognizes two different forms of AHCDs; the Advance Directive for Health Care and the Health Care Durable Power of Attorney. The Advance Directive for Health Care includes sections on a Living Will, and a proxy appointment (Health Care Durable Power of Attorney).
- Living Will
The Living Will allows you to specify your wishes regarding life sustaining care if you are permanently unconscious or have a terminal condition, but does not give someone the authority to make medical decisions on your behalf.
- Health Care Durable Power of Attorney
This appoints a proxy to make medical decisions for you in the event you are unable to make medical decisions for yourself. Your proxy can make any type of health care decision on your behalf, not just decisions pertaining to life sustaining care. A completed Health Care Durable Power of Attorney allows you to avoid the necessity for a court-appointed guardianship or protective proceeding and is an essential component of an estate plan.
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