In Iowa, your health care directive can include one or two documents. The document in which you set out your wishes for health care is a Declaration (commonly called a living will). The document in which you name a trusted person to make health care decisions on your behalf is called a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. After you create your documents, you must sign them and have them notarized or signed by two witnesses.
If you choose to have the document witnessed, neither of your witnesses may be:
- under the age of 18
- your health care agent
- your health care provider, or
- an employee of your health care provider.
In addition, one of your witnesses must not be related to you by blood, marriage or adoption within the third degree of consanguinity (parents, children, siblings, grandchildren, grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and great-grandchildren).
After you sign your documents and have them witnessed or notarized, they are legally valid. Keep the originals in your files and give copies to your agent, if you named one. To ensure that you get the health care that you want, it’s a good idea to make your wishes widely known. So, you might also consider giving copies of your declaration and power of attorney to your physician, your hospital, your HMO or other insurance plan, and trusted family members and friends.
Review your documents every few years to make sure that they still reflect your wishes. Also, consider making new documents if you move to another state, get married or divorced, or if your agent is no longer able to supervise your wishes.
Your properly finalized documents will stay in effect until you revoke them, if you ever choose to do so. You can revoke your documents at any time. It’s best to revoke in writing. If possible, also collect and tear up all copies that you may have distributed to others. Finally, tell everyone who knows about your declaration and power of attorney that you have revoked them.
Learn more about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.
Learn more about Iowa Living Wills and Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care.
When you make a health care directive with Quicken WillMaker Plus, it will conform to all of Iowa’s laws about declarations and powers of attorney for health care, and it will print with plain English instructions that detail how to make it legal.