Frequently Asked Questions: Advance Directives

Q: What are advanced directives?

A: Advance directives are legal documents that allow individuals to make their medical treatment preferences known in advance in case they become unable to communicate or make decisions for themselves in the future.

Q: What are the different types of advance directives?

A: There are three main types of advance directives: Living Will, Medical Power of Attorney, and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order.

Q: What is a Living Will?

A: A Living Will is a legal document that outlines the individual’s wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event that they are unable to communicate their preferences due to illness or injury.

Q: What is a Medical Power of Attorney?

A: A Medical Power of Attorney is a legal document that designates someone to make medical decisions on behalf of an individual if they are unable to do so themselves.

Q: What is a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order?

A: A DNR Order is a medical order that instructs healthcare providers not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event that an individual’s heart or breathing stops.

Q: Who can complete an advance directive?

A: Any competent adult can complete an advance directive.

Q: How do I complete an advance directive in Virginia?

A: To complete an advance directive in Virginia, you can obtain the necessary forms from your healthcare provider, attorney, or the Virginia State Bar website.

Q: Do I need a lawyer to complete an advance directive?

A: No, you do not need a lawyer to complete an advance directive. However, it is recommended that you consult with a healthcare provider or attorney to ensure that your wishes are accurately documented.

Q: Can I change or revoke my advance directive?

A: Yes, you can change or revoke your advance directive at any time as long as you are competent to do so. You should inform your healthcare provider, family, and designated agent of any changes or revocations.

Q: Who should I share my advance directive with?

A: You should provide copies of your advanced directive to your healthcare provider, designated agent, family members, and anyone else who may be involved in your medical care.

Q: When does my advance directive become effective?

A: Your advance directive becomes effective when you are unable to make decisions for yourself due to illness or injury, and it is determined by your healthcare provider that you lack decision-making capacity.

Visit Connect Virginia where you can download and complete the Virginia Advance Directive Form and utilize the free Advance Directive registry.