Psychiatric Advance Directives

How do you complete your own psychiatric advance directive?

Step 3: Write your advance directive

State laws on psychiatric advance directives vary. Psychiatric advance directives may be used in certain states, while in other states you may be able to use a different but similar document such as a health care directive form, or a health care power of attorney. It is very important at this stage to learn if your state has specific requirements or has a form that you can fill out. There are several ways to find out what your state requires:

You should consult with a lawyer (attorney) in your state that has experience preparing psychiatric advance directives.

If your state has an approved psychiatric advance directive form, be sure to use it for your psychiatric advance directive, adding to it your specific wishes.

A psychiatric advance directive is a legal document, so you should type your responses on a computer if at all possible so your document is clearly legible. Typically, the first section of the form states your intention to complete an advance directive and your desire to have it followed. The subsequent sections then typically state your specific wishes. In the last section, you typically sign and date the form. Depending on state law, you may need one or more people to witness your signature and to have all signatures notarized by a notary public. These requirements vary from state to state so it is important that you understand your state’s specific requirements.

National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives offers a state-by-state guide to laws, rules, forms and other resources. Click here

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