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Dying and the Law Formwork, Registration & National Registries
As is perhaps to be expected in such a highly-evolved area of the law, advance health directives are normally completed using an official form or template. Forms can be obtained from local government agencies or advocacy groups. A quick search of the Internet will serve you well providing the appropriate form in your particular jurisdiction.
Once completed, there is the issue of whether or not your form needs formal witnessing. Should you take the directive to your regular doctor (if you have one). And does it need to be submitted to a central government registry? Or is there a private company that offers a similar service? Is there anyone else that you should give your form to? These are all jurisdiction-specific questions that we can raise in principal, but leave unanswered in this chapter other than to add the following.
Exit is often contacted by members wanting to provide us with a copy of their advance directive. While we appreciate the link between the activities of Exit and one’s end of life wishes, it probably makes better sense to give the form to those most likely to be with you in your hour of need. It is common sense to inform your family and friends of your advance directive and its contents (including where in your papers to find it), especially if you have given them the added powers of being your guardian, proxy or advocate.
Finally, it is a good idea to review your advance directive periodically. The closer one gets to the end of life so more fine-tuned one’s wishes and vision for the future may become. As with any legal document (eg. your will), your wishes may change over time. It is commonsense to make such changes known in writing by ensuring they are in your advance directive: given the legal force that the document can provide (assuming it is respected as it should be).