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Tips for Preparing Your Personal Directive

A Personal Directive appoints an agent, or agents, to make decisions regarding your health and medical treatment when you become incapable of making these decisions on your own. Although making a Personal Directive and assigning an agent is not mandatory, it is the only way you can be sure that the decisions are made by people you know and trust, and who understand your wishes. You should appoint one or more primary agents and/or alternate agents should the primary agent(s) be unable or unwilling to make the decisions.


You should appoint at least two agents to make your health care decisions. Agents can be either primary agents who will make decisions together, or alternate agents who will make decisions only if the other agent(s) is/are unwilling or unable to.

Care of Minor Children

You may also want to appoint one of the agents above, or a different one, to temporarily care for any minor children when you no longer have the capacity to make decisions.


Unless you choose otherwise, your Personal Directive will state “I will lack capacity when my Agent(s) signs a written declaration to that effect after consulting with a physician.” You may add other considerations if you wish.

Personal Decisions

You will be granting your Agent(s) authority to make the following personal decisions on your behalf:

  • Your health care.
  • Your accommodation.
  • With whom you may live and associate.
  • Your participation is social, educational and employment activities.
  • Legal matters that do no relate to your estate.

Agent(s) Authority

Your Personal Directive will state:

“My Agent must instruct my health care service providers based on the following guidelines:

  • I do not wish my life to be prolonged by artificial means when I am in a coma or a persistent vegetative state and, in the opinion of my physician and other consultants, have no known hope of regaining awareness and higher mental functions, no matter what is done.
  • I wish to be kept comfortable and free from pain. This means that I may be given pain medication even though it may dull consciousness and indirectly shorten my life.”

You may add other guidelines if you wish.

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