What is Utah’s Health Care Directive?

Nov 24, 2021 | Medicaid, Trusts, Wills and Probate

Estate Planning in Utah

Any Utah estate plan needs to include an advance healthcare directive. You can create a Living Will with an advance health care directive. You can also name someone as your health care power of attorney. They will make health care decisions for you when you’re not able to. An estate planning attorney can help you prepare your advance health care directive, living trust, last will and testament, and other documents that are crucial to your end-of-life care and beyond.

How to Appoint a Health Care Agent or Power of Attorney in Utah

An advance health directive does several essential things as part of your Utah estate plan. The most important thing is that it allows you to appoint an agent who will act if you can no longer make decisions for yourself (in terms of health care). If the primary agent is unable to serve, then you can appoint an alternate agent. An agent can do things under an advance health care directive, including (but not limited to):

  • choosing health care providers
  • making necessary health care decisions
  • consenting to participate in medical research and organ donation

The agent cannot force health care against you even if you cannot make health care decisions. You might want to think about whether the agent should have the authority to obtain your medical records while you can still make decisions about your health care. As always, it is essential to choose someone you trust wholeheartedly to make decisions on your behalf as your agent.

What Are the Living Will Provisions of a Utah Advance Health Care Directive?

An advance health care directive includes what is sometimes called a “Living Will.” A Living Will is where people can make decisions about their end-of-life care. In broad terms, the three available options include:

  1. To prolong life as long as possible within the constraints of what are considered generally accepted health care standards.
  2. To not receive care to lengthen life (while still receiving care to make one comfortable).
  3. Or to let the agent decide on these matters should the time come. 

End-of-life decisions could be difficult for family members and loved ones, even if an advance health care directive is given. Discussing your wishes with an agent and your loved ones before a crisis can help make matters easier for everyone involved. 

How to Change or Revoke a Utah Advance Health Care Directive

An advance care directive can be revoked or changed in many different ways under Utah law. To revoke the advance health care directive, a person can write “VOID” on the document, or they can destroy the document. They can also employ someone else to do this in an official capacity. To make changes to a previously executed health care directive, the best course of action is to make a new advance health care directive. 

How to Make an Advance Health Care Directive Legal in Utah

To make an advance health care directive legal in Utah, you must sign it in the presence of a witness who meets these requirements: 

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Not a next of kin or related by marriage
  • Will not inherit any part of the person’s estate
  • Not a beneficiary of any life insurance policy, pay on death account, or any other similar property
  • Not directly responsible for the person’s health care; is not a health care provider or administrator at a facility that is providing health care for that person
  • Will not be entitled to any interest on the person’s property if the person dies, and is not the person named as the agent for the advance care directive

The advance care directive only needs one witness and doesn’t need to be notarized.  

Work with Professional Estate Planning Attorney in Utah

An advanced directive is key to your estate plan and enables you to nominate an agent to make important life and death decisions if you can’t make the decisions yourself. ProvenLaw is a legal group providing trust, estate, tax planning and litigation, probate and trust administration, and business succession planning in Utah. We exceed client expectations by offering unmatched expertise, client service, and quality work. With over 90 years of combined experience, our attorneys and staff have the skills, knowledge, and experience to fulfill your legal needs. You are more than just another client; you are our number one priority. For assistance with preparing your Utah advance health directive or in writing other significant estate planning documents, including a last will and testament, living trust, and power of attorney, please contact us to schedule a 30-minute complimentary estate planning consultation

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