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Healthy futures


Minnesota Health Care Directive Planning Toolkit

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A health care directive is a planning tool used to identify who you want to make decisions for you if you aren’t able, and put your preferences and wishes regarding end-of-life health care in writing.

The Minnesota Health Care Directive Planning Toolkit helps you create a health care directive. The toolkit contains step-by-step instructions (and suggested forms) for completing a health care directive. The toolkit also provides:

Download planning toolkit (PDF)

Note that this planning toolkit requires Adobe Reader. Download this free software as needed.

Why do I need a health care directive?

Simply put, putting your wishes about your health care in writing helps make sure they'll be known and followed by family, friends, health care providers, and others.

Sometimes decisions must be made when a person isn't able to decide or communicate preferences. A health care directive communicates your wishes when you’re not able to.

How do I complete a health care directive?

It’s easy!

The Minnesota Health Care Directive Planning Toolkit has all the forms you need. After you download the planning toolkit, you have two options.

Minnesota Health Care Directive

Rosemary K. Heins, Extension Educator — Family Resource Management

Reviewed June 2013 by the author.

None of us can predict our future. One step for planning ahead though is to complete a health care directive, sometimes labeled a living will or durable power of attorney for health care.

Adults have the right to control their own medical care by consenting to or refusing medical treatment. Patients have the right to understand health problems, care options, and the effects of accepting or rejecting treatments.

Sometimes decisions must be made when a person isn’t able to decide or communicate preferences. Putting your wishes in writing helps make sure they’ll be known if family, friends, or health care providers need to make a care decision.

How do you put together a health care directive? First, obtain a copy of the Minnesota Health Care Directive form. This can be accessed from a medical clinic office or online.

On Part I, you can appoint someone, called an agent, to make health decisions for you if you become unable to make or communicate health care decisions.

On Part II, you can leave written instructions that can include your health care goals, fears and concerns. You include what you want as well as what you don’t want. You can also state limits of the powers you want your agent to have.

To make it legal, sign and date it. Then have the document witnessed by a notary public or two people, neither of whom is the person you are appointing to make your health care decisions.

Finally share a copy of the directive with the person you’re appointing and your health care providers. For more information and forms to complete, contact your health care provider or print them off the internet. A link to the form is available from the University of Minnesota Extension website at


Stum, M. S. (2011, January). The Minnesota health care directive. St. Paul, MN:

Related resources

Roadmap for Important Papers (PDF) — Use this document to help you organize you vital information such as contact info for family members, financial advisors, and attorneys; insurance policy information; and bank, credit union, and credit card account information.

Health Care Directive Workshop — Arrange for us to come and teach on this important topic. Excellent resource for employee groups, community organizations, and more.

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