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What is a Minnesota health care directive?

As a Minnesota resident, you may be wondering what kind of state laws affect end-of-life decisions. If you want to ensure you have control over your medical care, you may follow the state's guidelines for creating a health care directive. If you are over 18 years of age, Minnesota law allows you to make such a document, and the state even provides forms to make the process simpler.

According to the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, a health care directive contains directions and details about medical care. By creating one, you may ensure your wishes regarding medical care are clear. This may be especially important in situations where physical or mental health issues could prevent you from conveying your health care decisions.

There are numerous subjects that a health care directive may cover. For example, you could clarify whether you want life support treatments, such as artificial hydration and nutrition. Another part of the document could state whether you want to donate your organs. You may also designate if you want to allow mental health treatments or medications. In your health care directive, you may designate an agent to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. In most cases, your agent cannot be your health care provider. There are possible exceptions if your health care provider is a family member.

A health care directive may be short and simple or complex. If you have an agent you trust to make decisions for you, your directive may simply include his or her name and your general medical wishes. Alternately, you may create a very specific directive that covers a variety of issues. Once you make a health care directive, it remains in effect unless you cancel it or replace it with an updated directive.

While this overview may help you understand the basics of a health care directive, it is not intended to provide legal advice. 

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