Information about Advance Directives

Advance directives should be filled out while people are healthy, because doing so gives them time to think about the end-of-life care they would choose if they were unable to communicate their own wishes. It also allows time to discuss these wishes with loved ones.
National Cancer Institute

Advance directives convey in writing a person's choices regarding medical care and who will be their health care decision maker in the event that they are unable to make these decisions or to communicate them clearly.  They are legal documents governed by New Mexico state statute.  The New Mexico statutes provide a sample form entitled "Optional Advance Health-Care Directive."  When the sample form is correctly completed, it is designed to satisfy the requirements of New Mexico law for health care directives.  

The New Mexico statutes also contain a power of attorney form, which can be completed so that it applies to health care decisions (as well as other decisions) and goes into effect if you become incapacitated.

New Mexico has another statute and another form for advanced mental health care directives.

Other organizations also provide forms.   Aging with Dignity has a form called "Five Wishes" which they state satisfies the requirements of New Mexico law.  (  Some benefits of "Five Wishes" are that it is simple and easy to complete, written in several languages including English and Spanish,  and it raises many issues that can be considered.  Another form has been prepared by the Lawyer Referral for the Elderly Program of the State Bar of New Mexico.

For people on the DD Waiver,  the guidelines regarding advance directives and health care decisions promulgated by the New Mexico Department of Health can be another helpful resource.  This document is intended to guide interdisciplinary team (IDT) members and provider agencies as they support the decision makers when difficult health care decisions have to be made.  However, it is also useful for people with disabilities to know how their advance health care directives will be interpreted and used.

For information for decision makers who are empowered to act on behalf of another by an advance health care directive or by themselves in making healthcare decisions, please see our page "Decision Consultation Information."  The Decision Consultation Information page contains forms useful for documenting and justifying decisions taken under an advance health care directive.


The Continuum of Care project presents this page as a collection of information that is of interest to the DD community.  While all the information on this page is readily available on the WWW, it is potentially hard to find in one place. The information on this page should not be construed as giving legal advice or as endorsing any product. Any questions regarding advance directives in New Mexico should be directed to a licensed New Mexico attorney.