Advance Directives

Living Wills & Powers of Attorney

What is an advance directive?

An advance directive is a legal document that clearly states how you want to be medically cared for if you can no longer speak or act for yourself because of accident or illness.

You can also designate someone to make decisions about your health care if you’re not able to make them. Under the law, there are two types of advance directives:

  • Advance Care Plan – previously called a Living Will
  • Appointment of Healthcare Agent – previously called a Durable Healthcare Power of Attorney or Medical Power of Attorney

Why do I need an advance directive?

Having an advance directive is important for people of all ages. By putting your wishes in writing, you are taking steps to make sure you remain in control of your future – no matter what the future holds.

And since you’ve already specified your wishes about your medical care, you’ve lifted a heavy decision-making burden off your loved ones.

  • Laws on advance directives vary from state to state, and there are slight differences in Tennessee and Virginia. Be sure to study the rules for the state in which you’re submitting your document.
  • Advance directives are available at all Ballad Health facilities. Any patient can ask for one. We’ll provide it for you, and we can assist you if you have any questions. 
  • There is no cost to complete an advance directive. You aren’t required to have a lawyer to complete one.

More information about advance directives