Types of Advance Directives

When advising clients on estate planning, advance directives are discussed. An Advance Directive is a legal document used to give instructions to your physicians about your healthcare. In Texas, there are three types of advance directives. The three types are Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will and Do Not Resuscitate Orders.

Medical Power of Attorney:

This document is used to name someone you want to make decisions about your healthcare. You can include the power to make decisions about life support. Without this document, your next of kin will need a court order to remove you from life support. This type of power of attorney is not effective until your physician certifies in writing that you are unable to make your own decisions about your healthcare.

Living Will:

This document is used to tell your physician in advance the healthcare decisions you have made in case you are unable to make the decisions later. You may have heard hospitals ask if you have one when you check in for surgery. In the event you become incapacitated your physician will first look for a living will; therefore, it is important you have a copy placed in your medical records. In the living will, you will state whether you want life sustaining treatment in the event you have a terminal and irreversible condition.

Do Not Resuscitate Order:

There are two types. One is an out of office DNR Order, which instructs emergency response teams or emergency rooms to not resuscitate you in the event you have a cardiac or respiratory arrest. The other type is an in-hospital DNR Order and it instructs the hospital staff to not resuscitate you. Both the out of office DNR Order and in hospital DNR Order require your physician’s signature and placement in your medical records. However, for an out of hospital DNR Order, you should keep it where emergency response teams, e.g. ambulance EMT personnel, can find it. A metal or plastic bracelet should be worn by the patient with the required statutory language in order to ensure your wishes are followed.


Advance Directives should not be entered without first giving it much consideration. If you have questions about advance directives, then please call us at the Law Office of Hugh Spires, Jr. PLLC to discuss with our attorney. You may reach us at 210-874-5700 or hspires@TexasWillsLawyer.com.

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