Frequently Asked Questions - All FAQs

FAQs - All FAQs
Advance care planning is a process and a conversation.  Steps include:
  • Understand your current health situation.
  • Identify your health care agent.  Who will speak for you when you cannot speak for yourself?
  • Have a conversation with your agent, family and other loved ones to share your health care wishes and preferences.
  • Complete a health care directive document.
  • Distribute copies of your completed health care directive to your agent, your doctor(s), and others who will be involved in your care.
  • Update your health care directive when changes occur. 
Advance care planning is for every adult 18 years of age or older.
Most health care systems in the Twin Cities and other areas have classes and/or facilitators who can guide you.  Click here for contact information. 

The Honoring Choices office can also help you find a volunteer facilitator to work with you if your clinic is not listed.  Email us to learn more.
A health care directive is a legal document that records your health care agent, as well as your health care wishes and preferences.  This document is used as a communication tool when you cannot speak for yourself.  It helps guide your agent, family, loved ones, and physician in honoring your wishes. 
We suggest everyone 18 years of age or older complete a health care directive.
An agent is a person you choose to represent your health care wishes if you are unable to speak for yourself.  Choose someone who is at least 18 years old, fully understands your beliefs and values about medical care, and is not easily intimidated by others.  Choose someone who will be an advocate for you, can make decisions under stress, and can cope with making difficult life and death decisions.  The term agent may also be referred to as proxy or power of attorney for health care.
Yes and no.  A living will is generally more limiting because you only make decisions about life sustaining procedures, and it may not identify a person to speak on your behalf as your agent.  A durable power of attorney for health care is needed for that. 

A health care directive combines both components -- decisions about health care treatments and naming an agent -- in one document. 
Five Wishes is a very similar document to the health care directive.  Five Wishes details wishes and preferences along with naming an agent in a format that is more narrative in style.  Five Wishes is not recognized in all states, however it is approved in Minnesota.
Honoring Choices Minnesota will be happy to mail you a copy (request one by clicking here), or you can print a copy yourself from our website.  Click here to be routed to our health care directive page.  Scroll down the page to pick the language and format (PDF or Word) you prefer.
No.  A properly filled-out health care directive is a legal document, and no attorney is required to be involved.

To meet Minnesota state law as a legal document, the following must occur:

  1. The document must be in writing.
  2. It must clearly state your name and the date you are writing it.
  3. It must include either a named agent, or your treatment choices, or both.
  4. It must be signed.
  5. It must be witnessed either by a notary public, or by two adult witnesses (neither of whom are your agent, and at least one of whom is not a member of your health care team.)  Ideally witnesses are individuals who are not related to you, but someone who can attest that you are the person signing the form (friends, neighbors, etc.)

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1300 Godward Street NE, #2000
Minneapolis, MN 55413
612.623.2885  •  Email Us