Indiana residents now have a streamlined option for appointing a health care representative to speak on their behalf in the event they become incapacitated and to simultaneously make their future health care wishes and treatment preferences known.

Senate Enrolled Act 204 (“SEA 204”), codified in Indiana Code § 16-36-7, allows the appointment of a health care representative, health care power of attorney, and living will to be included in one document known as an Advance Directive.

Previously, Hoosiers were required to execute multiple documents when choosing who to appoint as their health care representative, what powers that representative would have, and what wishes the individual had in relation to end-of-life care and other future health care decisions.

The updated law defines “Advanced Directive” as “[a] written declaration of a declarant who 

(1) gives instructions or expresses preferences or desires concerning any aspect of the declarant’s health care or health information, including the designation of a health care representative, a living will declaration made under IC 16-36-4-10, or an anatomical gift made under IC 29-2-16.1; and 

(2) complies with the requirements of this chapter.”

Advanced Directives must be signed, by paper or electronically, in front of two (2) witnesses or a notary public.  A copy of the executed directive must be provided to the first named health care representative and provided to the individual’s health care provider to place in the individual’s electronic medical record.

The passage of SEA 204 represents a long overdue update to Indiana’s advance directive statute as it is the first update in over 25 years.  It is important to note Advanced Directives executed prior to January 1, 2023 under the old laws are not invalid; however, beginning January 1, 2023, all new Advanced Directives must comply the new law. 

Furthermore, the new law does not invalidate Indiana’s P.O.S.T. forms or out-of-hospital DNR forms which may still be used as needed based on an individual’s current health care directives and needs.

Please note that this post is only a brief summary of SEA 204 and does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish an attorney/client relationship.  Should you have a specific questions regarding the above, please contact Emilie E.D. Hunt at Hodges and Davis, P.C.

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