Skip to main content

Quickly create your Tennessee 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.

We back your form purchase with a 30-day guarantee

Tennessee health care directives to fit 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?

Reliable Tennessee health care directives, fast

If you ever become terminally ill, you may become unable to make your own medical decisions. Without a health care directive, your loved ones and doctors may make choices for you that you would not have wanted. With a health care directive, your wishes will be known regarding the provision or withdrawal of medical procedures that prolong the natural dying process. Although this can be unpleasant to consider, a proper health care directive ensures you do not receive treatments that you do not want and spares your loved ones from making these difficult choices.


Written by:

Kimberly Lekman, Esq.

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

Free Download

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

Enter email field (Required)

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

Follow these steps:

Make decisions on future health care issues

A health care directive is a type of advance care directive (“advance directive“) you can use to make health care decisions in advance of a terminal medical condition. In your health care directive, you can give detailed instructions on whether you would accept or refuse certain life-sustaining procedures in the event of a terminal condition. These treatments include artificial hydration and nutrition, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the application of breathing machines, and any other procedures you feel strongly about.

It can be difficult to make decisions on these types of treatments in advance. But it can give you peace of mind knowing you have made your own choices on these matters. By having a health care directive in place, you may even be able to spare your loved ones from arguing over your future treatments. If you have trouble with the choices in your health care directive, you should consider discussing them with a trusted doctor or your loved ones.

Choose a health care agent

Under title 34 of the Tennessee statutes, you have the option of selecting someone to make medical decisions on your behalf if you become unable. This person is commonly known as a health care agent. The document you use to name a health care agent is called a durable power of attorney for health care. This is another type of advance directive in addition to a health care directive.

You are under no obligation to name a health care agent, but you may want to. If you have a health care agent, you will know that you have a trusted person ready to advocate for your wishes if you become unable. Your health care agent will be able to make medical decisions for you that are not covered by your health care directive. You should select a health care agent who you trust to make good decisions on your medical treatment.

Note that you may not choose any of the following individuals as a health care agent in Tennessee:

  • Your health care provider or one of their employees
  • The operator of your health care institution or their employees
  • Any health care provider or their employee who later provides you with medical treatment

Due to these restrictions, you need to avoid choosing a health care agent who is involved with your medical treatment or who could become your future health care provider.

Before making a final decision on a health care agent, you should make sure that this person understands your health care wishes and will be able to carry them out. You should discuss this duty with them to make sure that they are willing and able to take on this important responsibility.

Sign your health care directive

To make your health care directive a legally valid document, you need to sign and date it. The signature requirements are spelled out in detail in the Tennessee Right to Natural Death Act. It states that you must sign your health care directive in front of either a notary public or two competent adult witnesses. Your witnesses must also sign the document.

If you gather witnesses for your health care directive, you should be aware that your health care agent cannot act as a witness. Further, at least one of your witnesses must be someone who is not related to you and who does not stand to inherit from you. Due to these restrictions, you may find it easier to notarize your health care directive than to gather witnesses.

Distribute your health care directive

After you have signed your health care directive, you need to make sure that it gets to the right people. If you chose a health care agent through a durable power of attorney for health care, you should give them a copy. This will help them to understand and advocate for your treatment wishes.

Next, make sure to give your advance directives to your health care providers. They will not be able to act on your wishes if they are unaware of them.

Your loved ones should also receive a copy in case they need to accompany you during an emergency situation. It’s a good idea to store a copy of your health care directive in a safe location that a trusted loved one can access if needed.

Update your advance directives

After completing your advance directives, you should review them from time to time. A good policy is to look over your health care directive at least every few years. If you go through any major life events, you may want to change your advance directives sooner. The type of life situations that may make you rethink your wishes could include:

  • A new diagnosis
  • An interstate move
  • Divorce
  • Advances in medical technology

If you have gone through a divorce, you may want to choose a new health care agent to replace your former spouse. In the case of an interstate move, it’s a good idea to review your health care directive to make sure that it complies with the laws of Tennessee. Rest assured that you can make unlimited updates to your health care directive for a year after purchase using FindLaw.

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 Tennessee health care directive?

Create my health care directive

Tennessee health care directive commonly asked questions

No. A last will and testament (a “will”) and a living will have confusingly similar names, but they are very different legal documents.

A will is the main estate planning document. You can use a will to decide who receives your property after your death. If you have minor children, you can name guardians for them through your will. However, you cannot use a will to make choices on future medical treatments.

living will, also known as a health care directive, is a type of advance directive. You can use a health care directive to make your wishes known on medical treatments that only serve to prolong natural death. This includes life support machines, ventilators, and many other treatments. If you want to make your own decisions on future medical care issues, you need to sign a health care directive that reflects your wishes.

A good estate plan can contain both a will and a health care directive. Your health care directive covers future medical issues and your will provides for the distribution of your assets after your death.

To make your health care directive legally valid, you must meet certain basic requirements:

  • It must be in writing.
  • You must sign and date the document.
  • You must be a competent adult. This means that you are able to understand your health care options and the consequences of health care decisions.
  • You must notarize your health care directive or gather two competent adults to witness your signature. The witnesses should also sign.

You should be aware that there are restrictions under Tennessee law on who may act as a witness to your signature. You may not choose your health care agent as a witness. Further, at least one of your witnesses must be someone who is not related to you and does not stand to inherit from you. Because of these restrictions, you may find it easier to notarize your document than to gather witnesses.

Yes, your out-of-state health care directive is valid if it was properly executed in the other state or is valid under Tennessee laws.

Although an out-of-state health care directive is valid in Tennessee, you should consider updating your estate plan (including your advance directives) when you move. This will help ensure your health care directive is up to date, reflects your current wishes, and complies with Tennessee law.

Your health care directive is a binding legal document. Your medical staff has a duty to follow it, even if that means transferring you to another health care provider. Tennessee statutes provide a procedure for health care providers to follow in case they are unwilling to carry out the wishes in your health care directive. They must notify you, your next of kin, or your legal guardian that they refuse to comply with your expressed wishes. They then must give the option of transferring you to another physician who is willing to comply with your instructions.

If your doctor or other health care professionals do not follow the above procedure, they will be risking civil liability and disciplinary action. They could even lose their medical licenses as a result.

You have the right to change your mind about your health care directive any time you choose. Your mental state or capacity does not have any impact on your ability to revoke. Under Tennessee law, you can revoke your health care directive in two ways.

  • One option is to verbally state your intention to revoke to your attending physician. It’s the physician’s responsibility to make your revocation a part of your medical record.
  • The other option is to create a signed and dated written revocation. If possible, you should go with this option rather than making a verbal revocation. The advantage of a written revocation is that it provides your family and medical professionals with a clear record of your medical preferences.

With FindLaw, you can create a written revocation through a new health care directive that revokes prior ones. The guided process is quick and easy, and you don’t need to leave the comfort of your home to complete it.

Whenever you create a new health care directive or revoke an old one, you should be sure to let the important people in your life know about it. If you named a health care agent, you should give them a copy of the new document. You should be sure to give one to your health care team and your family too. This will help to keep them updated on your most current wishes for health care.

What our customers have to say

See why customers rely on us

  • Shane

    “I valued the easy-to-navigate layouts and the clean design of the forms. The price was the lowest I could find.”

  • Kat

    “FindLaw helps you fill in the blanks and produce a written doc per your state laws. All you need to do is sign and have it notarized. How easy!”

  • Paul

    “FindLaw’s website was extremely easy to navigate! It walks you through all the questions you need to answer – very simply. And the price point was excellent. Highly recommend!”

Complex family situation? Need additional guidance?

Contact a local estate planning attorney.