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Advance Health Care Directives 101

What If I Move Or Receive Treatment In Another State?

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Virtually all states have laws permitting advance directives, including living wills, appointment of healthcare proxies, and DNRs. However, they do not all have the same requirements and provisions. Very few state laws provide for what happens if documents are created and executed under another state's jurisdiction and laws.

Although some states may honor out-of-state documents, to be safe, we suggest that you:

  • Execute each Advance Directive in front of a notary public even if it isn't required in the state in which you live. This way, if you happen to be in a state which does require notarization if an event occurs, the documents will be valid.
  • Execute a new set of Advance Directives for each state in which you receive treatment - whether it's due to a permanent move or simply a temporary stay for treatment. The forms aren't complicated, are free and are not difficult to execute.

To avoid any conflict between more than one set of documents:

  • Any directive for a state in which you do not live should mention the prior document and state that the purpose is not to replace the old document (which you expect to still be valid under the law of the state in which it was executed), but simply to conform to the law of the state in case you become incapacitated in that state.
  • If you have more than one Healthcare Power of Attorney, do not appoint different people to be the proxy. With communication today, a Proxy can be available regardless of where you are.

In case of conflicts, we encourage you to seek legal counsel if you decide you need more than one set of Advance Directives to conform to different state laws.

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