COMPLETING YOUR VERMONT ADVANCE DIRECTIVE
How do I make my Vermont Advance Directive legal?
In Part 9, you must sign and date your document in front of two witnesses, aged 18 or older. Neither witness can be your spouse, agent, parent, brother, sister, child, or grandchild.
If you are in a hospital, nursing home, or residential care facility when you complete your advance directive, you will need a third person’s signature to certify that he or she has explained the advance directive to you and that you understand the impact and effect of what you are doing. This third person may be a hospital designee, a long-term care ombudsman, an attorney licensed to practice in Vermont, a clergyperson, or a probate division of the superior court designee.
Whom should I appoint as my agent?
Your agent is the person you appoint to make decisions about your health care if you become unable to make those decisions yourself. Your agent may be a family member or a close friend whom you trust to make serious decisions. The person you name as your agent should clearly understand your wishes and be willing to accept the responsibility of making health care decisions for you.
You can appoint a second and third person as your alternate agent(s). The alternate will step in if the first person you name as an agent is unable, unwilling, or unavailable to act for you.
You cannot appoint your doctor or other health care clinician to be your agent. If you are in a residential facility, a health care facility, or a correctional facility, an owner, operator, employee and/or contractor of the facility cannot be your agent unless such person is related to you by blood, marriage, civil union, or adoption.
Part 7 allows you to appoint a person, also called an agent, to oversee the final disposition of your remains. This person may not be an unrelated funeral director, crematory operator, cemetery operator or an employee of a funeral director, crematory operator, or cemetery operator. He or she also may not be an unrelated employee or representative of an organ procurement organization.
Can I add personal instructions to my Vermont Advance Directive?
One of the strongest reasons for naming an agent is to have someone who can respond flexibly as your health care situation changes and deal with situations that you did not foresee. If you add instructions to this document it may help your agent carry out your wishes, but be careful that you do not unintentionally restrict your agent’s power to act in your best interest. In any event, be sure to talk with your agent about your future medical care and describe what you consider to be an acceptable “quality of life.”