What is an Advance Directive?

Advance health care directives provide instructions about the level of health care someone wants or does not want in the event that they become seriously ill and unable to speak for themselves. Advance directives can be short, simple statements expressing someone’s values and choices. Advance directives are not used as long as an individual is able to express his or her own decisions on whether to accept or refuse medical treatment. They are used only when an attending health care provider determines that someone is in a terminal condition and is no longer able to participate in making decisions regarding medical treatment.

If you live in Montana, and you need an advance health care directive, contact a Matrium Law Group attorney at (406) 552-7814.  Matrium Law Group is a family law and estate planning firm located in Missoula, Montana.  We store our clients' advance health care directives in the Montana’s End-of-Life Registry, which:

  • securely stores directives relating to life-sustaining treatment
  • is accessible online
  • provides immediate access to authorized health care providers

An advance health care directive combines instructions regarding an individual’s preferences for treatment with the appointment of someone (the “agent” or “surrogate”) to act on the person’s behalf. It may state that extreme life-sustaining measures should be avoided or, to the contrary, that all possible medical treatments and measures should be undertaken.

The conversations an individual has with the agent, other family members and health care professionals are as significant as the document itself. While the agent and others close to the individual should have copies, it’s just as important for them to understand the values and rationale underlying the preferences described. It should also be explained to other relatives why the agent was chosen.  To discuss this with an attorney, contact Matrium Law Group at (406) 552-7814.