The advance health care directives, also known as living will, are the documents through which a citizen, of legal age and able, manifests and expresses his will in advance in regards to the medical care he intends (or not) to be subject to in case of, and for any reason, the citizen finds himself incapable of expressing, personally and autonomously, his will. The living will was introduced in our legal system by Law 25/2012, of 16 July (hereinafter “Law 25/2012”), which also regulated a health care attorney, i.e. a person to whom representative powers are assigned to in order to decide on the health care that the patient will (or not) undergo, when same patient finds himself unable to express his will.

Law 25/2012 has also created the Living Will National Registry (hereinafter “RENTEV”) with the aim to “approve, register, organize, and keep updated - in relation to national citizens, foreigners and stateless persons residing in Portugal - the information and documentation regarding the advance health care directives and the powers of attorney for health care”. However, the organizing and functioning of RENTEV was dependent on regulation to be approved by Government. It was finally approved, on last May 5, Resolution 96/2014, which regulates the organizing and functioning of RENTEV, thereby implementing the provisions of Law 25/2012.´

Still under the regulation that is still to be approved in relation to this matter, it was also approved through Resolution 104/2014, of 15 May, the official model for advance health care directives, which is of optional use by the citizen, in effect since last July 1. Prior to the adoption of this model, the citizen had only the possibility of formalizing the advance health care directives will by drafting a written document signed in person before a notary.