INTRODUCTION TO YOUR MARYLAND ADVANCE DIRECTIVE
This packet contains two legal documents, the Maryland Advance Directive that protects your right to refuse medical treatment you do not want or to request treatment you do want in the event you lose the ability to make decisions yourself, and the Maryland “After My Death,” form, a document that allows you to record your decisions regarding organ donation and the final disposition of your remains.
The Maryland Advance Directive is divided into three parts. You may fill out Part I, Part II, or both, depending on your advance planning needs. You must complete Part III.
Part 1, Selection of Health Care Agent, lets you name someone (an agent) to make decisions about your health care. This part becomes effective either immediately, or when your doctor determines that you can no longer make or communicate your health care decisions, depending on how you fill out the form.
Part II includes your Treatment Preferences. This is your state’s living will. It lets you state your wishes about health care in the event that you can no longer speak for yourself. Part II has specific choices laid out for you in the event you have a terminal condition, are in a persistent vegetative state (permanent unconsciousness), or develop an end-stage condition. Alternatively, you can provide your own instructions. In addition, the form allows you to choose whether your agent will have flexibility in implementing your decisions or carry out your instructions exactly as you set them out.
Part II becomes effective when your doctor determines that you can no longer make or communicate your health care decisions.
Part III contains the signature and witnessing provisions so that your document will be effective.
Following the Maryland Advance Directive is a form, called “After My Death,” which allows you to record your organ donation and final remains disposition preferences. You may share your Advance Directive electronically with your health care agent, family members, and providers by using the free, secure, web-based system at http://www.mydirectives.com/
The Maryland Advance Directive form does not expressly address mental illness. If you would like to make advance care plans regarding mental illness, you should talk to your physician and an attorney about a directive tailored to your needs. The Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene provides an advance directive focused on mental-health issues on its webpage at: http://dhmh.maryland.gov/mha/Documents/Advance%20Directive%20for%20Mental% 20Health%20Treatment%20july%202008.pdf
Note: This document will be legally binding only if the person completing it is either: (1) 18 years of age or older, or (2) if under the age of 18, is married or is the parent of a child.