Virginia Advance Directives
Your AD is turned on only when you need it
Doctors and loved ones will only use your Advance Directive to make decisions about your health care if all three of these things happen first:
There is one exception to this:
What does it mean to be incapacitated?
An individual is found to be incapacitated if he/she is unable to make informed decisions about his/her care. An individual may be incapable of making informed decisions about his/her care for a number of reasons, including:
According to Virginia law, an individual cannot be found incapacitated just because they have a diagnosis of mental illness. His/her mental illness must be at a level that leaves the person unable to make informed decisions about his/her care (Va. Code §54.1-2982)
Your AD is only turned for as long as you need it
Once any one physician evaluates you and agrees that you are now able to make informed decisions about your care, then the Advance Directive is turned off. At this point, you can start making your own decisions once again.
For more information about capacity and the required determinations of capacity, see Va. Code §54.1-2983.2.
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This website is not intended to provide legal advice. It is merely a guide, and reflects one view of Advance Directives in Virginia. It can be beneficial to consult with an attorney regarding your Advance Directive. However, the intention of Virginia’s law on Advance Directives is to enable and encourage all capable adults to fill out an Advance Directive on their own.
This website is designed and administered by Mental Health America of Virginia (MHAV) and is funded through a grant by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.