A  serious emergency where immediate treatment is needed for your safety or someone else’s safety

Writing Down What You Want

Instructions that are medically inappropriate, ethically inappropriate, or illegal

How strong are my Instructions?

Your agent cannot make decisions that conflict with your Instructions.


Your health care providers cannot treat you in a way that conflicts with your Instructions.  But there are a few exceptions:

You can write down your health care wants and values

One thing you can do to plan for a time when you cannot make health care decisions is to write down details about what you do and do not want for treatment.

You are the person who knows your health care history, values, and wants best.  But when you are injured or ill and cannot make decisions, it will be very hard to share those important details.


Writing those details down in an AD creates a “cheat sheet” for your agent and health care providers.

Treatment that is allowed by a court order

What sort of things can I write in an AD?


You can write anything that will be helpful to your health care providers and agent.  There are three types of details: