Advance Directives


Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care

I really have no idea of what the difference is between an Advance Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. However, I do know that attorneys and judges are kept employed knowing about and understanding the differences between these two types of documents.

For reference purposes, I have posted samples of both documents here. I have posted sample forms from California and Ohio but, these can and should be adapted to local laws. As a start, you might contact your local state Protection and Advocacy Agency.

Generic (Ohio) Mental Health Declaration

Generic (Ohio) Power of Attorney for Health Care

Generic (California) Advance Directive

Generic (California) Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

I have also posted my personal documents here to be used as an example. I want to be clear that by posting these, I am declaring them to be indicative of my wishes even though they are not signed. For security reasons, I won't post signatures on the web.

Pat's Mental Health Declaration (Ohio)

Pat's Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (Ohio)

Pat's Advance Directive (California)

Pat's Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (California)

I have inserted a couple things into my documents that may or may not be relevant to anyone else's situation.

First of all, I have said, "I want no involuntary psychiatric interventions…"

I don't know whether this would hold up legally or not but while I am competent, I wanted to go on record by stating my opposition to force and coercion. Personally, I have always felt that those who know me best, know what works and what doesn't work to help me maintain my emotional health. I don't care to trust my emotional well-being to a bunch of strangers whose first response may or may not be to jump on me in force, shoot me up with psychiatric drugs and strap me down with restraints in a seclusion room. I've often found that the best way to calm myself is to sit in a rocking chair in a dark, quiet room with some nice music.

Second, I have said that I don't want psychosurgery, any form of convulsive treatment, involuntary commitment, use of any psychoactive medications, or restraint or seclusion.

This just sort of reiterates and clarifies my first statement.

I further say, "I want no life preserving techniques used which would preserve my life without being able to be a dignified, active participant or live with extreme pain. I have discussed this with and trust my agents to act in accordance with my wishes should I be legally judged and found incompetent to not be able to either give or refuse full informed consent which should be done freely and without coercion, intimidation or persuasion in consultation with my acting agent. Even where I still legally possess the capacity for informed consent, my agent may intervene and employ substituted judgement if they, and they alone, have the slightest suspicion that any form of coercion, intimidation, persuasion or inducement has affected my judgement or ability to make decisions in accordance with the wishes I have expressed or implied to my agent."

I make this statement to indicate that if my trusted agent feels that force, coercion or intimidation has been used that they are to use every means necessary to intervene on my behalf. I included this statement in both my DPAHC and my Advance Directive.

I also said, "Family" as used in this document specifically includes my children and other descendants related by blood. "Family" shall specifically exclude parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, cousins or others claiming relation by blood or marriage." I definitely do NOT want mommy or daddy or any other family busybody types interfering in my life. I have talked with and trust my agent to make substituted decisions on my behalf and I've also talked with and trust my kids. Other than that, I don't want others to meddle.


"I do not recognize the ability of the court to decide what is in my "best" interest. Therefore, I wish to have my agent appointed as conservator to carry out my expressed interests, should the need for a conservator be found legally necessary."

I believe there is a significant difference between my "best" interests as perceived by someone else and my "expressed" interests as I have told them to my trusted agent. I don't feel that a court which does not know me can possibly ascertain what my interests are. Nor can anyone else except someone who knows me very well and with whom I've discussed these issues. That person is my agent and I sincerely hope that the court respects the wishes I've expressed.

Whether any of this will carry any legal weight may have to be determined by a court of law. I've done my best to express my interests and I hope that it will be enough should the need ever arise. I encourage you too to do the same. Hopefully, these documents will help. I figure that at least, they couldn't hurt and may serve to protect in case of emergencies.

I have placed copies of these documents with my doctors and at the hospitals where I've received care or anticipate receiving care. I've also provided copies of these documents to my agent and other friends to assure that there is the greatest possibility that my wishes will be known and respected should the need ever arise.