Utah Advance Health Care Directive
Designate an Agent
Among other things, an Advance health care directive designates an agent to make health care decisions for an adult in the event the adult cannot make or communicate his or her own health care decisions, and/or expresses the preferences about health care decisions should the adult become mentally or physically incapacitated. Even if you have expressed your preferences regarding health care decisions in cases of your incapacity, it is still a good idea to appoint an agent to make decisions on your behalf, since it is difficult to predict all of the various circumstances of incapacity you could find yourself in.
Express Preferences for Health Care Decisions
An adult may provide the following directions in an advance health care directive, appoint or not appoint a health care agent, provide directions or choose not to provide any directions for the care of the adult after the adult loses capacity to make health care decisions, state conditions that must be met before life sustaining treatment may be withheld or withdrawn, authorize an agent to consent to the adult’s participation in medical research, nominate a guardian, authorize an agent to consent to organ donation, expand or limit the powers of a health care agent, designate the agent’s access to the adult’s medical records.
Make an Advance Health Care Directive
An Advance Health Care Directive can be oral or written. In the event there is an oral advance health care directive, the witness must testify as to the circumstances of the oral directive.
Any adult is presumed to have the capacity to make health care decisions and to create an advance health care directive. When an adult lacks the capacity to make health care decisions or create an advance health care directive, the adult may still retain an agent to make health care decisions, subject to court approval.
You do not need an attorney to draft your advance health care directive. The State of Utah even provides forms you can just fill out for your advance health care directive.
Modify Advance Health Care Directive
You can always change or modify your advance health care directive so long as you have the mental capacity to make those changes.
Surrogates and Court Appointed Guardians to Make Health Care Decisions
In the event that an adult becomes incapacitated without naming an agent, a surrogate may be appointed to make health care decisions on behalf of the adult, in the following order, a spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandchild, or grandparent. No one can make health care decisions for an adult, so long as the adult has capacity to make his or her own health care decisions. A court appointed guardian may make health care decisions for an incapacitated adult, but must do so in accordance to any preferences described in the advance health care directive. An agent has precedence over a court appointed guardian for health care decisions.