Will My Advance Directive Work in Another State?

Making sure your end-of-life wishes are followed no matter where you happen to be is important. If you move to a different state or split your time between one or more states, you should make sure your advance directive is valid in all the states you frequent.

“In our practice, clients frequently spend time in Florida or another state,” said Louis Pierro, Founding Partner of Pierro, Connor & Strauss. “If the time is significant, we will prepare Powers of Attorney and Health Care Proxies for both.”

An advance directive gives instructions on the kind of medical care you would like to receive should you become unable to express your wishes yourself, and it often designates someone to make medical decisions for you. Each state has its own laws setting forth requirements for valid advance directives and health care proxies. For example, some states require two witnesses, other states require one witness, and some states do not require a witness at all.

“In New York, we have a very good statute for health care proxies, but not living wills,” said Pierro. “Consequently, we use the proxy for our clients, but add the instructions that would other be in a living will to the proxy document. That way, regardless of what state you are in, your instructions will be known.”

Most states have provisions accepting an advance care directive that was created in another state. But some states only accept advance care directives from states that have similar requirements and other states do not say anything about out-of-state directives.

States can also differ on what the terms in an advance directive mean. For example, some states like New York may require specific authorization for certain life-sustaining procedures such as feeding tubes while other states may allow blanket authorization for all procedures.

To find out if your document will work in New York and other States where you spend time, ask for a consultation with an attorney at Pierro, Connor & Strauss by calling the office at 866-951-PLAN (7526) or fill out a consultation request here.