Advance Planning

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Advance Care Plan - Tennessee
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Appointment of Health Care Agent - Tennessee
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Exercise your right to make choices regarding end-of-life care.
When you are well, talk with your physician, family and those close to you
about your preferences for care.

This process should result in a clear understanding of your wishes at the end of life and who would make decisions on your behalf. Document these decisions in an advance directive. If illness or accident resulted in your inability to communicate, your advance directive would provide your family and physicians with instructions so that your wishes would be known and respected.

Also referred to as a Living Will or Advance Directive

The form describes four situations and allows you to indicate which treatments you would want or not want if you were in one of those situations. If you have additional directions, you may include these on the form. This form can also be used to name a Health Care Agent, a person you choose to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. Your agent should be someone who knows your wshes and will make decisions based on what he/she believes you would want, not based on his or her own preferences.                     


The form works like a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. It allows you to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. It does not include specific healthcare directives. 


Frequently Asked Questions

#1 What instructions should I give my agent concerning my health care?

You may give very general instructions and preferences, or be quite specific. It would be helpful to your agent to have directions from you about life-prolonging interventions, particularly medically administered food and water (tube feedings), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the use of machines to help you breathe, and organ and tissue donation. Many people choose to write their agents a letter stating their personal values and wishes, their feelings about life and death, and any specific instructions, and attach a copy of the letter to their Appointment of Health Care Agent Form. Talk with your agent about your choices, personal values and beliefs. Make sure they know what is important to you. This information will help them make the decisions that you would make if you were able.

#2 Is a lawyer or a notary public needed to complete an advance directive?

A lawyer is not required and your signature may either be notarized or witnessed by two competent adults. If the latter, neither may be the person appointed as your agent and at least one should be a person who is neither related to you nor entitled to any part of your estate.

#3 Can an advance directive be changed?

YES. You may make changes to your form at any time but it is important that outdated copies are destroyed
and that updated copies are provided to the appropriate people.

#4 What should I do with my completed advance directive?

• Discuss your wishes with your physician(s) and provide copies to your physician’s office
• Keep a copy in your personal files where it is accessible. (A safety deposit box may not be the best place.)
• Tell trusted family members and friends what is in the document.
• Provide a copy to the person you named as your health care agent.

#5 Are advance directives honored in an emergency?

Usually it is not possible to determine the chances of survival in an emergency situation. After the initial emergency has passed and the prognosis for recovery is known, your advance directive will come into play if you are not able to express your wishes.

#6 Will another state honor my advance directive?

Laws differ from state to state, but typically, a patient’s documented wishes will be honored. Download an Advance Directive from another State 

#7. If I completed an Advance Directive on the old form, will it be honored?

YES. Living Wills and Durable Power Attorney for Health Care documents created before 2004 will continue to be honored.

#8. How often should review my advance care plan?

Advance directives are living documents that should be updated as circumstances in your life change, particularly when any of the "Four Ds" occur: death of a loved one, divorce, diagnosis or decline.