In 1993, Maryland recognized the right of any adult person to make a written declaration instructing his or her physician to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining procedures in the event of a terminal condition, a persistent vegetative state (permanent unconsciousness), or an end-stage condition. "An end-stage condition is an advanced, progressive and incurable condition resulting in complete physical dependency, like advanced Alzheimer's disease."
There are three types of advance directives:
While a lawyer is not required to make an Advance Directive, the following agencies are in a position to provide legal referrals in the area of Advance Directives/wills/power of attorneys, etc.
- The Living Will - Designed to go into effect on in the event of a terminal condition.
- Appointment of a Health Care Agent - The same as the old Durable Power of Attorney which names a proxy who has legal authority to carry out a person's wishes and make a decision to accept or refuse treatment for that person.
- Heal Care Instructions - Similar to the Living Will, but it can go into effect in the case of a terminal condition, a persistent vegetative state or an end-stage condition.
Lawyer Referral Service
Harford County Bar Foundation
5 North Main Street
Bel Air, MD 21014
Materials related to Advance Directives are available at the Harford County Library. For hours of operation call 410.638.3151 or visit them on the web at http://www.harf.lib.md.us/.
Samples of Advance Directives are available without charge from the Harford County Office on Aging.