In Massachusetts, you may describe your wishes for health care in a living will and health care proxy.
Massachusetts is one of just three states without a statute authorizing living wills, but federal law has firmly established your right to direct your own medical care -- and a living will provides important guidance to help others understand your treatment wishes. In Massachusetts, health care instructions are sometimes recorded on a living will form known as a "personal wishes statement." And you can use a health care proxy to name a trusted person to make health care decisions on your behalf.
After you create your documents, you and two witnesses must sign them. Neither of your witnesses may be under the age of 18 or your health care agent.
After you and your witnesses sign your documents, they are legally valid. Keep the originals in your files and give copies to your health care 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. You might also consider giving copies of your documents 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 health care 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 document directing health care or your health care proxy at any time. The best way to revoke a document is to do it in writing. If possible, also collect and tear up all copies that you have distributed to others. Finally, tell everyone who knows about your documents that you have revoked them.
Learn more about Living Wills and Medical Powers of Attorney.
Learn more about Massachusetts Living Wills and Health Care Proxies.
When you make a living will or health care proxy with Quicken WillMaker Plus, it will conform to Massachusetts law. It will also print with plain English instructions telling you how to make your documents legal.