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Quickly create your Texas 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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Texas health care directive options that work for you

Health Care Directive

For One Person

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

$49
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

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Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

$189
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

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Get a Texas health care directive the easy way

If you ever become terminally or irreversibly ill, you may lose the ability to make your own choices on medical care. Your family members may then struggle with your treatment decisions and may consent to procedures on your behalf that you would not have wanted. To make your own choices in advance of medical incapacity, you should create a health care directive. This document gives clear instructions to your doctors and loved ones about your treatment choices in case you ever become unable to make your own medical decisions.

Kimberly_Lekman_image

Written by:

Kimberly Lekman, Esq.

Contributing Author

Reviewed by:

John Devendorf, Esq.

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 Texas health care directive valid?

Follow these steps:

Make decisions about future medical care

A health care directive is a legal document known as an advance care directive (“advance directive“). In Texas, this document is sometimes referred to as a directive or living will to physicians. You can use a health care directive to give instructions to family and medical providers about the treatments you would request or refuse in the event of a terminal or irreversible condition. Specifically, you will need to decide whether you would prefer that life-sustaining medical treatment be withdrawn under these circumstances.

If you ever become unable to give informed consent to your own medical choices, your health care professionals will then follow the instructions in your health care directive. It can be unpleasant to think about, but it may give you peace of mind to know that you have made your own choices on these possible treatments and eased the burden on family members should the worst happen. If you have trouble making these decisions, it may be helpful to discuss them with a trusted doctor or your loved ones.

Choose your health care agent

In Texas, you have the option of choosing a trusted person to make health care decisions for you in case you ever become unable to make them for yourself. This person is commonly referred to as a health care agent, or a health care proxy. The document you use to make this designation is called a medical power of attorney or durable power of attorney for health care. The person you choose does not have to be an attorney. They should be someone you trust with broad authority over your treatment decisions.

A health care agent’s duty is to carry out the terms of your health care directive. For health care situations where you have not provided instructions, they must use their own judgment. They should make decisions that are in your best interest and that align with your values.

There are a few legal restrictions on your choice of health care agent. You may not choose:

  • Your health care provider
  • Your residential care provider
  • An employee of your health care provider or your residential care provider unless this individual is related to you

When selecting your health care agent, you will need to consider whether you trust this person to be assertive with your family and doctors to advocate for your health care wishes. It’s also a good idea to choose someone who lives within close proximity so that they can be physically present when you need them.

Many people choose a close loved one such as a spouse, sibling, parent, or an adult child for this role. Before you commit to a health care agent, you should talk it over with the person you would like to designate. You need to be sure that they consent to this role, and that they understand and agree with your health care choices and wishes for end-of-life care.

Sign your health care directive

According to the Texas Advance Directive Act, you must sign your health care directive in the presence of two competent adult witnesses or a notary public.

There are several legal restrictions on your choice of witnesses. At least one of the witnesses may not be:

  • Related to you by blood or marriage
  • Designated to make your health care decisions (such as a health care agent)
  • Your attending physician or their employee
  • Anyone who could receive an inheritance from you
  • A health care provider at a facility where you receive treatment
  • Anyone who could have a claim against your estate (such as a creditor)
  • A director, partner, business office employee, or officer at your health care facility or its parent organization

Due to the above restrictions, you may need to ask friends, neighbors, or acquaintances to witness your Texas health care directive. Or you can fulfill the witnessing requirement by signing in front of a notary public instead.

Distribute your advance directives

After properly executing your advance directives, you need to make sure to distribute them to the people who may need them.

Your health care agent should have copies they can reference in case they need to carry out your wishes. You also need to give your advance directives to your health care providers so that they can enter them into your medical record. Finally, you should provide your advance directives to your close loved ones and place an extra copy in a secure place that they know about.

Update your advance directives

After you have completed your advance directives, you should review them from time to time. This will help to ensure that they continue to reflect your health care treatment preferences. A good rule of thumb is to review them every few years at least.

Certain major life situations may make you reconsider some of your choices sooner. The following events could cause you to rethink your advance directives:

  • A long-distance move
  • Marriage or divorce
  • A change in diagnosis
  • Advances in medical technology

Any of the above, or even a simple change of heart, may cause you to change your mind about your advance directives. You have the right to change or update your choices at any time you have the capacity to do so. Rest assured that if you create your health care directive through FindLaw, you can update it for any reason free of charge for a full year after purchase.

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
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Create my health care directive

Commonly asked questions about health care directives in Texas

Under Texas law, there are a few basic requirements you must fulfill in order to create a valid health care directive:

  • You must be a competent adult
  • You must sign the document
  • There must be two competent adult witnesses or a notary public present when you sign. They must also sign the document.

Note that the competency requirement is fairly loose. You simply must be able to understand the nature and risks of your health care decisions, and the consequences of your choices.

Before gathering witnesses, you should be aware that there are several restrictions regarding your choices. Generally, one of your witnesses must be someone who is not related to you, who would not benefit financially from your death, and who is not employed as or by your health care providers. These restrictions are covered in more detail in the steps above.

Yes. Under Texas law, you can sign your advance directives digitally or electronically. Digital or electronic signatures include scans, uploaded images, computer-generated images, and others that are intended to serve as a signature.

However, there are extensive requirements in Texas regarding the technology you use for this purpose. Among other requirements, the electronic or digital signature must be unique to you, verifiable, and solely under your control. You can find a full list of these requirements in the Texas statutes.

These state laws are likely to change as time passes and technology evolves. Further, it may be difficult to know whether your signature complies with the technological standards set forth in the statutes. If you have any doubt about the validity of your electronic signature, it may be safer to sign your advance directives on a hard copy.

No. You are under no obligation to create advance directives. Insurance carriers and health care providers are not permitted under Texas law to require advance directives as a precondition of coverage or treatment.

Although you are not required to create advance directives, it is wise to do so. With a health care directive, you can give instructions to your medical providers on which treatments you would request or refuse if you become terminally ill or suffer from an irreversible condition. If you have any opinion about life-prolonging treatments under these circumstances, you should create a health care directive to make your wishes known.

Yes. According to Texas statutes, out-of-state advance directives are valid in Texas if they were created in compliance with the laws of the state where you executed them. However, a health care directive from another state may not authorize the withdrawal of medical procedures in a way that would be against Texas law.

Although your advance directives from another state may be legal in Texas, it’s a good idea to create new documents that are tailored to the Texas requirements. With a Texas health care directive in hand, you can be confident that your selections are valid and comply with Texas law. You can create a Texas health care directive that’s customized to your needs with FindLaw quickly and conveniently.

No, a divorce does not revoke the instructions in your health care directive. But if you named your former spouse as your health care agent, a divorce or annulment revokes this designation under Texas law. The exception to this would be if the medical power of attorney document specifies that the designation should survive divorce.

After going through a divorce, it’s probably a good time to review your estate plan (including your advance directives). If your spouse was your health care agent, you will probably want to choose another trusted person to make health care decisions on your behalf. But if you would like to keep your former spouse as your health care agent, you should create a new power of attorney document that makes this clear.

If you have changed your mind, you have the right to change or revoke your health care directive at any time. Your mental state or competency has no impact on your ability to revoke.

To revoke your health care directive under Texas law, you can:

  • Tear up, burn, cancel, obliterate, or otherwise physically destroy it or direct someone to do so on your behalf.
  • Create a written, signed, and dated revocation.
  • Make a verbal statement declaring your intention to revoke.

When you revoke your health care directive, it’s important that you inform your medical staff promptly. If you make a written revocation, you must provide the document to your attending physician or ask someone to do so for you. For oral revocations, you must alert your attending physician of the revocation or ask someone to do so on your behalf. It is their obligation to make a record of your revocation after you inform them of it. Your health care providers will not be liable for acting on the instructions in your health care directive if they were unaware of the revocation.

Although oral revocations and physical destruction are acceptable ways to revoke your health care directive, it’s better to create a written record of your wishes if possible. You can create a new health care directive that revokes your prior ones with FindLaw’s guided process in less than an hour. With a new document, you can give your physicians and loved ones a clear description of the changes in your treatment preferences.

Anytime you revoke or modify your advance directives, you should inform your health care agent, medical professionals, and loved ones of the changes. You should also provide them with copies of your new documents.

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