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Quickly create your Ohio health care directive

You can complete FindLaw’s attorney-created health care directive forms in less than an hour at home. Our guided process takes you through a few easy steps and includes a free HIPAA release form. You’ll be able to download, print and sign your documents in no time.

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Ohio health care directive options to suit your needs

Health Care Directive

For One Person

A do-it-yourself health care directive that’s easy to personalize.

What’s included:
What’s included
Step-by-step guided process
A health care directive tailored to your needs
Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
Free HIPAA release form
Free changes and revisions to your document for up to a full year after purchase


Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

What’s included:
What’s included
Last will and testament
Health care directive
Power of attorney
Free HIPAA release form
A comprehensive plan — for less
Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

Still not sure what estate planning tools you need?

Create an Ohio health care directive the easy way

If you don’t have a health care directive and become incapacitated, doctors providing treatment will turn to your immediate family for necessary medical decisions. Even if your family members have a good idea of your wishes regarding life-sustaining care when you are terminally ill and unconscious, deciding these important matters during an incredibly difficult time can be a burden and may even lead to disputes. An Ohio health care directive provides your family with clear guidance on your choices regarding end-of-life care, easing the burden on them and giving you peace of mind.


Written by:

J.P. Finet, J.D.

Contributing Author


Reviewed by:

Tim Kelly, J.D.

Contributing Author

How it works

Create your health care directive in under an hour

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard you can access any time

Gather information

Decide who will be your health care agent/proxy, which treatments you would request or refuse and release your records

Complete your document

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing

Make it legal

Print and sign your document according to instructions. Give copies to your doctors and agent/proxy

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Plan for your future with confidence

This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

  • Understand the essential estate planning tools

  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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What’s next to make my Ohio health care directive valid?

Follow these steps:

Choose when you would like your medical treatment to be limited or withdrawn

Ohio’s health care directive declaration only applies in situations where a person is suffering from a terminal condition or has been rendered permanently unconscious. Other situations should be addressed using a health care power of attorney. If you have both documents, a health care directive takes precedence over the decisions made by someone with health care power of attorney.

Your health care directive should document your wishes when it comes to life-sustaining treatment. Treatments that are often covered include:

  • When CPR should be administered
  • Mechanical ventilation if you can’t breathe on your own
  • Taking foods and liquids through feeding tubes
  • Whether infections should be treated with antibiotics or other medications
  • How long you should receive dialysis if it is needed
  • End-of-life care (palliative care) choices regarding things like pain management, invasive treatments, or wanting to die at home
  • Whether you would like your organs, tissue, or body to be donated

Decide whether you want to give someone health care power of attorney

Since Ohio law only lets a health care directive dictate your medical care when you are dying or permanently unconscious, you must give someone health care power of attorney to address other medical situations when you are unable to make decisions on your own. The person who has health care power of attorney is sometimes known as your proxy or health care agent.

If you are incapacitated, a person with health care power of attorney can make the following choices on your behalf:

  • What medical care you should receive
  • The hospital or other facility where you will be treated
  • The doctors and health care providers who will provide you with treatment
  • Moving you to an assisted living facility, nursing home, or other long-term care facility
  • Who will provide for your non-medical day-to-day needs, such as food and transportation

Remember, while health care power of attorney allows someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf, a health care directive still takes precedence and ensures that nobody else will need to make difficult end-of-life decisions for you.

Choose someone to notify

Your health care directive may list people who should receive notice if a doctor has made the decision to withdraw life support. You may list more than one person, or nobody at all. When a doctor decides to stop any life-sustaining treatment, they must make reasonable efforts to contact the listed individuals using the contact information provided.

If you do not name anyone in your health care directive, Ohio law requires that your doctor make a reasonable effort to notify people in the following order:

  • Your guardian
  • Your spouse
  • Your adult children
  • Your parents
  • Your adult siblings

Sign your health care directive

For an Ohio health care directive declaration to be legally valid it must be signed and witnessed. Your document may be witnessed in one of two ways:

  • Signing the document using a notary public to attest to your signature.
  • Signing the document—or having someone sign it at your behest—in front of two adult witnesses. The witnesses can’t be related to you, your doctor, or an administrator at a facility where you are receiving care.

Distribute copies of your health care directive

Completing a health care directive does you little good if no one knows about it and they don’t know where to find it. You should make several copies and give them to:

  • Your doctor so it can be placed in your medical records
  • Any hospital where you receive treatment, even if it is for minor surgical procedures
  • A close family member, friend, or someone with health care power of attorney

You should also keep a copy with your other personal papers, such as your will and important financial documents.


You may want to speak with a lawyer if:

  • Your family disagrees with your medical choices
  • You don’t know who to appoint as your agent
  • You have questions about life prolonging measures
  • You want legal review of your completed document
Find a local estate planning lawyer

Ready to start your Ohio health care directive?

Create my health care directive

Common questions about Ohio health care directives

A health care directive is an important part of any estate plan because it guides your loved ones as to your preferences for medical treatment. This means your family will not need to guess how you would like to be treated or rely on their memories of conversations about end-of-life treatment that may have happened years ago.

An Ohio health care directive provides your loved ones with certainty about your wishes so that they know that you are receiving the treatment you want. A health care directive can avoid disputes among family members who have differing views as to how you would like to be treated. These disputes can create rifts and animosity among family members and sometimes result in litigation.

Health care directives generally provide medical guidance to physicians, health care facilities, and family members when a patient is incapacitated, incompetent, or unable to communicate. However, Ohio law only allows for a health care directive to govern your treatment in cases where someone is terminally ill or permanently unconscious. If you would like someone else to make medical decisions on your behalf in other situations, consider giving someone medical power of attorney.

Health care directives in Ohio usually allow you to address whether you would like to receive the following if you are terminally ill and unable to communicate:

  • Any treatment or medical care to prolong your life
  • CPR (often called a “Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order”)
  • Mechanical assistance with breathing
  • Artificially supplied hydration or nutrition
  • Comfort care to diminish pain or discomfort, sometimes known as “palliative care.”

The document can also state whether you would like to make any organ donations or leave your body to science.

A living will, also referred to as a health care directive, serves a different purpose than your last will and testament. Your last will tells your survivors how you would like your property to be distributed after you die and how loved ones should be cared for. A health care directive takes effect while you are still alive and provides guidance on how you would like to be cared for when you are terminally ill and unable to communicate.

State law allows any person in Ohio to create a health care directive if they meet the following three criteria:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Of sound mind
  • Free of undue influences

Under Ohio law undue influence is any “improper or wrongful constraint, machination, or urgency of persuasion” that forces someone to act in a manner they would not choose to have acted in a typical situation.

In Ohio, your health care directive only goes into effect when you are terminally ill or permanently unresponsive. If you would like to give someone else the right to dictate your care before you are terminally ill or permanently unresponsive you must give someone health care power of attorney. For example, if you are unconscious from a car accident but doctors expect you to pull through, they will let someone with power of attorney dictate your care, but not your health care directive. However, doctors will look to your health care directive when deciding on your medical treatment if they believe you are not going to recover enough consciousness to state your wishes.

You will sometimes hear references to “durable” medical power of attorney, which expressly states that the person still has the right to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are incapacitated. But in Ohio, all powers of attorney are durable, so anyone with power of attorney can make decisions on your care whether you are responsive or not.

You are not required to use a lawyer to create a health care directive in Ohio. You can create one that follows Ohio law in a few easy steps using FindLaw.

FindLaw is not a law firm, and the forms are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney. If you have a complicated personal situation and are concerned that your health care directive is going to be challenged, it might be worth visiting a local attorney to get your questions answered.

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