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University of Minnesota Extension

Minnesota Health Care Directive Planning Toolkit

Also available in Spanish.

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:

  • Reasons for planning ahead.

  • Definitions of common terms associated with health care directives.

  • Facts to keep you informed.

  • Tips for where to keep copies of your directive, and for distributing, keeping planning records, and updating your directive.


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!

  • Identify a person, called an agent, to make health decisions for you if you become unable to make or communicate decisions.

  • Write instructions about your health care goals, fears and concerns. You will 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.

  • Sign and date it to make it legal. Then have the document witnessed by a notary public or two people. (Neither of them can be the agent.)

  • Share copies of your directive with your agent and health care providers.

The Minnesota Health Care Directive Planning Toolkit has all the forms you need.

Reviewed in 2022

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