New Hampshire Advance Directive Form
A New Hampshire advance directive is a five (5) page legal form that enables an agent to make a principal’s medical decisions and/or inform doctor(s) of their treatment and care preferences. The agent only has this authority if the principal experiences an accident or illness that leaves them unconscious or incompetent.
This form also makes it possible for the principal to include their wishes for medical treatment. The agent must follow the principal’s instructions before making their health-related choices. If the agent or physician acts against the principal’s medical wishes, they are personally liable. In this case, the principal or their family can sue, especially if it negatively impacts the principal’s health or results in their death.
The document combines a living will and medical power of attorney, meaning that it 1) gives the agent the ability to make choices for the principal and 2) allows the principal to state their medical wishes. More specifically, the principal can choose whether or not they want life-prolonging interventions, such as comfort care, artificial nutrition or hydration, or mechanical ventilation.
The agent’s role includes determining treatment or care for the principal when an unprecedented situation occurs. This means that the principal has not included instructions on how to handle a specific situation. It is important that the agent is confident in these moments, especially if it involves potentially life-changing decisions. For example, the agent may need to choose whether or not the principal should undergo surgery, receive medication, or cardiac resuscitation (CPR).
Laws: § 137-J
Signing requirements (§ 137-J:14): The form must be signed by the principal in the presence of two (2) witnesses or a Notary Public. If the principal is unable to sign the power of attorney, another person may do so on their behalf so long as the principal is present.