Alabama Advance Directive (Medical POA + Living Will)
The Alabama Advance Directive (Medical Power of Attorney + Living Will) is a document made in advance of any health complications that assigns an individual, called the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact” power to speak for the person that is no longer able to make their own decisions. The document only goes into effect when the creator of the form (the “principal”) has become incapacitated. The form allows the principal to specify how they would like to be treated if terminally ill as well as declare the individual(s) who would be responsible for making their medical decisions.
State Laws & Signing Requirements
Laws: Natural Death Act (Chapter 8A, Termination of Life-Support Procedures)
Signing Requirements (§ 22-8A-4(4)): The Principal must sign and date the Advance Directive before two (2) witnesses. The witnesses must meet all of the criteria outlined by this provision in order to serve in this capacity.
How to Write
Section 1 “Living Will”
A living will allows the Principal to state how they wish to be taken care of medically when they can’t make decisions for themselves.
On the first line, enter the name of the Principal (person completing the Advance Directive). If the Principal wishes to have life-sustaining treatment in the event they are ill/injured terminally (permanently), place their initials on the line in front of “Yes”. If not, the Principal will need to place their initials in front of “No”. On the bottom of the first page, if the principal would like to be provided water/food through an IV in order to stay alive, place their initials on the “Yes” line, and vice versa for “No”.
On the second page, the Principal will need to place their initials next to “Yes” or “No” depending on whether they 1) want medical procedures that will keep them alive if they are permanently unconscious (otherwise known as permanently vegetative), and 2) if they want to be provided food and water while permanently unconscious in order to keep them alive. The Principal can write-in any other medical wishes they have on the four (4) lines provided. If they have nothing to add, they will need to place their initials at the bottom of the page.
Section 2 “If I need someone to speak for me”
In this section, the Principal can name a “health care proxy”. This is much like an attorney-in-fact, and is the person that would be making medical decisions for the principal in the event they are incapacitated. If the Principal wishes to assign a health care proxy, they will need to write their initials on the second line. The following information should be entered regarding the proxy(s) elected:
- Full name(s)
- Relationship to Principal
- Address(es) (city, state, and ZIP)
- Day and night phone numbers
The Principal will then need to answer the following questions by placing their initials next to the option they’d like to choose:
- If they want their proxy to make decisions regarding receiving food / water through an IV
- If their proxy should strictly listen to the directions listed on the form
- If they want the proxy to listen to the form and make decisions about things not specified in the form
- If they want the proxy to have the power to make the final decision on their life (even if it’s different than what’s included in the document)
Section 3 “The things listed on this form are what I want”
This section is used to ensure the Principal understands the importance of the document. If they want people (in a addition to the proxy) to be informed of the information relating to the life-sustaining treatment they may receive, the name(s) of said people should be written on the lines provided.
Section 4 “My signature”
To make the document official, the Principal will need to enter their:
- Full name
- Birthday, month, and year
- Date of signing
Section 5 “Witnesses”
The document requires two (2) witnesses. Each witness will need to write their printed name, signature, and the date in which they wrote their signature.
Section 6 “Signature of Proxy”
The proxy (or proxies) will need to write their full name, signature, and the date of their signing. At this point, the Advance Directive is complete, and copies should be made for all parties.