MN Health Care Directive — November 2011, reviewed January 2013

None of us can predict our future.  One step for planning ahead though is to complete a health care directive, sometimes labeled a living will or durable power of attorney for health care.

Adults have the right to control their own medical care by consenting to or refusing medical treatment.  Patients have the right to understand health problems, care options, and the effects of accepting or rejecting treatments.

Sometimes decisions must be made when a person isn’t able to decide or communicate preferences.  Putting your wishes in writing helps make sure they’ll be known if family, friends, or health care providers need to make a care decision.

How do you put together a health care directive?  First, obtain a copy of the Minnesota Health Care Directive form.  This can be accessed from a medical clinic office or online. 

On Part I, you can appoint someone, called an agent, to make health decisions for you if you become unable to make or communicate health care decisions. 

On Part II, you can leave written instructions that can include your health care goals, fears and concerns.  You include what you want as well as what you don’t want.  You can also state limits of the powers you want your agent to have.

To make it legal, sign and date it.  Then have the document witnessed by a notary public or two people, neither of whom is the person you are appointing to make your health care decisions.

Finally share a copy of the directive with the person you’re appointing and your health care providers.  For more information and forms to complete, contact your health care provider or print them off the internet.  A link to the form is available from the University of Minnesota Extension website at

Direct link to Health Care Directive information at: