Delaware Advance Directives
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After you have written your Advance Directive, there are steps you must take to ensure the document is legal and your wishes will be carried out. These criteria area specific state-to-state and you must make sure that your directive follows the guidelines from any state in which you expect to receive medical attention. In completing your Advance Directive in Delaware, there are certain things to be aware of. For instance, one similarity that Delaware shares with many states regards pregnant patients. In Delaware, pregnant patients cannot elect to have life-sustaining treatments (such as tube feeding and artificial hydration) withheld (despite what directions your Advance Directive might give) if it is possible that the fetus will continue to develop to a viable stage. If live birth is still a possibility, doctors in Delaware will give you these life-sustaining treatments no matter what.
In order to make your Advance Directive legal in Delaware, you must sign the directive in the presence of two witnesses. These two people cannot be related to you in any way, cannot be entitled to any of your estate, and cannot be financially responsible for your healthcare, or they will not be accepted as valid witnesses and your directive will not be a legally binding document. Also note that in Delaware, residents of sanitariums, rest homes, nursing homes, boarding homes, etc have additional witness criteria. These residents must have at least one witness who is designated as a patient advocate or ombudsman. These two witnesses will also sign the Advance Directive, affirming that you are of sound mind.
Advance Directives allow you to assign a Healthcare Representative to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated. Unlike many states, Delaware allows you to name a physician as your proxy. However, this may not be acknowledged in other states where you could potentially receive medical treatment. An experienced attorney can help you sort out this issue if you might be crossing state lines to seek medical attention. A lawyer can also help sort out organ donation options. Delaware has pre-existing protocol for deciding who can make donation decisions for you and what is done with your remains after death. There are ways to specify if you are opposed to organ donation or autopsy, and there are ways to specify which organs you want to donate to which organizations.