Advance Directives and Living Wills
Taking Charge of Your Health Care
Maine Law and Health Care Advance Directives
When you need medical care, you have the right to make choices about that care. But there may come a time when you are so sick that you can't make your choices known. You can stay in charge by putting your choices in writing. This is called an Advance Directive, or Living Will.
Advance Directive Form (PDF, new window) What is an advance directive?
An advance directive includes:
An oral or written statement of your wishes for the future, usually related to health care.
A written designation of an agent to make health-care decisions for you (also known as a durable health-care power of attorney).
What issues can be covered by an advance directive?
You can express your wishes in advance on anything related to health care. You may also use an advance directive to express your wishes on other matters that you believe would be helpful to your family or treatment providers. For example, some persons want to express their wishes in advance regarding funeral arrangements or organ donation. You can be as specific as you want to be.
How do I revoke an advance directive?
You can revoke an advance directive, including a health care directive, at anytime and in any manner that communicates an intent to revoke the advance directive. You do not need to do this in writing.
In order to revoke the designation of an agent (durable health care power of attorney), you need to do this in writing, and sign and date the document, or you need to communicate your intent to revoke the designation clearly to your primary physician.
Any time you revoke either an advance directive or the designation of an agent, it is important to communicate this intent to all persons or agencies that were originally notified of the advance directive or the designation of your agent. Otherwise, persons who are not aware that you changed your mind will be able to act upon your prior statements or documents.
What form do I use?
There are several versions of advance health care directives/living wills available. You may use one of the forms already created, modify it or create your own document. Whatever form you use in Maine, you must sign it and have two other persons sign as witnesses. A form widely used in Maine is Advance Directive Form, PDF.
How can you learn more?Updated: 2013-02-14
Pen Bay Medical Center has packets of information available to help you make a decision about Advance Directives. Your doctor or a member of your patient care team can provide that information to you and arrange for someone to talk with to answer questions.
This service is offered by the following organizations: