New Advance Directive Law

The Indiana legislature recently passed new laws that change the landscape of a patient’s ability to state their instructions, wishes, and preferences regarding their healthcare, and who has right to their healthcare information.  The patient still retains their sole right to make their healthcare decisions if they are competent to do so.  The new Advance Directive form consolidates what was previously included in individual documents such as Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Living Will, Life-Prolonging Declaration, and Appointment of Healthcare Representative.  Any of these documents that have been properly executed prior to December 31st, 2022, remain legally valid. Out-of-state documents properly executed will likewise be honored. After December 31st, 2022, a patient must execute documents for healthcare under the new law.

The new Advance Directive form does not have to follow any certain format and allows the appointment of a healthcare representative(s) and backups, if any, as well as unlimited discretion in stating your wishes and preferences for healthcare treatment including end-of-life and even for anatomical gifts. A competent patient can always orally modify or terminate any healthcare decision or appointment in their Advance Directive(s).

For my clients I will still have a short-form document that clients can make their decisions to name their healthcare representative(s) without delay, and a second Advance Directive to supplement and not revoke their short-form document in which clients can go into detail regarding the whole gamut of their healthcare decisions.  This allows a client to appoint a healthcare representative(s), and then consider in unlimited detail, their wishes that their healthcare representative(s) should follow for treatment, palliative care, life-prolonging, end-of-life, anatomical gifts, or other healthcare wishes. 

A healthcare provider can rely on an Advance Directive and is immune from liability as if dealing directly with a competent patient.  If a healthcare provider refuses to follow the directive because they consider it “medically inappropriate or contrary to the patient’s best interests” the healthcare provider can refuse to follow it.  The healthcare provider must notify the healthcare representative of their decision and unwillingness to follow the directive.  If requested, the healthcare provider must facilitate transfer to another healthcare provider as directed by the client’s named acting healthcare representative. 

An Advance Directive(s) can be signed in person or electronically.  Two independent witnesses, or a notary of the client’s signature is now required.

The Indiana POST (Physician’s Order and Scope of Treatment) and Out-of-Hospital DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) forms for terminal end-of-life situations remain unchanged by the new law.

This information is for general purposes and no attorney-client relationship is entered into herein.