Advance Directives



Have you thought about the type of care and medical treatment you might want should you ever become unable to make decisions or speak for yourself? It’s hard for most of us to imagine this scenario, especially when we are young and healthy. However, you never know when you may experience a medical emergency. A car accident or sudden illness can leave you incapacitated and in need of serious medical care. Advanced medical planning helps you prepare for the unexpected while you are well and able to make difficult decisions for yourself.


An advance directive consists of legal documents that put your medical wishes in writing and allows you to choose someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you. These documents offer peace of mind that, should the unthinkable happen, you’ve made your wishes known. Preparing an advance directive is also an important gift to your loved ones. They will rest easier knowing they are making medical decisions based on what you do or do not want. The two main components of an advanced directive are a living will and a medical power of attorney (MPOA).

Who needs an advance directive?

You do! More than 25 percent of older adults face important questions about medical treatment but are not capable of making decisions, according to the National Institute on Aging. However, advanced medical planning is NOT just for the elderly or seriously ill. At age 18, you are legally an adult and responsible for your own medical decisions. ALL adults at every age should be prepared — just in case. Don’t worry if your health situation or preferences change. You can revise your advance directive documents any time.

Download and complete your advance directives.

Maryland Advanced Directive

Directiva avanzada de Maryland versión en español

Once complete, do the following:

  • Store them in a safe, but easily accessible place
  • Provide a copy to your primary care provider
  • Add it to you MyChart or patient portal account
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