Advance directive: Download a sample and draw it up by hand

Use a sample to draw up an advance directive. Set out your own wishes.

If a person no longer has the capacity to make decisions due to an accident or serious illness, they become dependent on the help of third parties. Our template will help you to draw up an advance directive by hand.

Use a sample to write an advance directive by hand

An advance directive determines who looks after us and manages our assets if we no longer have the capacity to make decisions due to an accident, a serious illness, or infirmity related to old age. An advance directive can be handwritten, or, if it’s in printed form, publicly notarized by a public official. In this way, the provisions are similar to those of a will. Ideally you should speak to your family and a specialist about your wishes and your situation before drawing up an advance directive.

People who opt for a handwritten advance directive can be guided by a sample so that they don't forget anything important. To be valid, the advance directive must be handwritten from start to finish. The advance directive must also be signed and dated. 

What is an advance directive? 

Our video explains in less than two minutes what an advance directive is, and how one is drawn up.

Advance directive with a template: It must contain these things

At the heart of an advance directive is the representative. The sample for an advance directive provides for one person who is tasked with the care of the person affected, and two substitute representatives. This is a good idea because it is possible that representatives cannot or do not wish to assume this role. Deciding on substitute persons in advance ensures that the advance directive can still be carried out.

If an advance directive is handwritten using a sample, it is important to adapt it to your personal situation and not to adopt the content of the template without careful consideration. If you own residential property or have specific expectations about the management of your assets, corresponding statements should be included in the advance directive. 

For example, you could state that the person responsible for your care may extend or repay mortgages in your interest, and buy and sell residential property. It is also a good idea to include instructions about the management of your assets in an advance directive, for example on investment strategies. A specialist can help you to formulate your instructions and make any additions to the text of the sample

Alternative: Have an advance directive notarized instead of drawing it up by hand

Instead of writing an advance directive yourself by hand, you can also have it written and publicly notarized by a specialist. Depending on the canton in question, official notaries or registered public officials are responsible for this.

Notarization is required if it is difficult for someone to write by hand and is generally a good idea in the case of extensive advance directives. For example, if different people are to be appointed for your personal care and your financial care or if the arrangements you wish to include are complex. Changes to an advance directive must be made in the same form (by hand or publicly notarized).

Keep your advance directive in the right place

Once an advance directive has been drawn up, whether by hand or publicly notarized, it is recommended that close family members or trusted individuals be informed about the document and its contents. Also tell them where the advance directive is located, which should be a place that is secure but to which your family members have access. It is a good idea to register its location with the registry office. Registration ensures that the child and adult protection authority (CAPA, KESB in German) are made aware of it in the event of a loss of decision-making capacity.

In some cantons, the advance directive can be stored with the CAPA. That is appropriate, as this authority also has to validate and implement the advance directive if the individual concerned does indeed suffer a loss of decision-making capacity one day.