A Personal Directive (“PD”) is a document made by a person (the “Maker”) which gives decision-making authority to another (the “Agent”) during any period in which the Maker is mentally incapable of making their own personal decisions.
The “Personal Decisions” which are mandatory in a PD include the power of the Agent to make decisions about the Maker’s health care; their accommodations and associates; participation in social, educational and employment activities; and legal matters which are not related to the Maker’s finances.
In addition, the PD may contain a number of optional powers which may be customized to meet the specific needs and wishes of the particular Maker. In general, these optional powers include the instructions to the Agent with respect to organ donation and life support measures.
The powers given in the PD do not take effect until two authorized parties (doctors, psychologists or the Agent) agree that the Maker does not have the mental capacity to make decisions regarding their personal care.
An Agent’s powers given by a PD are usually very broad and are based upon the Agent’s knowledge of the Maker’s wishes, beliefs and values. If desired, the optional portions of the PD can be tailored to a client’s wishes and made more restrictive, granting powers to the Agent to make only specific decisions.
A PD remains in effect throughout any period of mental incapacity of the Donor. It can be terminated by the Maker, provided the Maker has the mental capacity to terminate it. The powers granted to the Agent in the PD automatically terminate on the death of the Maker.