In Articles

By:  Cheryl A. Jones, Esquire

If you become incapable of making your own medical decisions, it is critical to have planning in place so that medical providers and family members know and can implement your wishes.   This is especially important if you have a serious illness or a condition with potentially life-threatening complications.

In Maryland, there are two primary components to such planning.  The first is an Advance Health Care Directive.  Once completed by you, this document appoints one or more trusted individuals to act as your health care agent.

Your health care agent can act on your behalf when you cannot.  He or she can access your medical information, talk with your doctors and health care providers, and make medical decisions for you, based on your wishes as you have made them known.

The second part of your health care decision planning is the Maryland Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST).  The MOLST is a medical order designed to make your wishes regarding end-of-life care and life-sustaining measures known to health care professionals.  The MOLST covers a number of very specific situations, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), artificial ventilation, blood transfusion, hospital transfers, medical workups, antibiotics, artificially administered fluids and nutrition, and dialysis.

Since the MOLST is a medical order, you do not sign it.  Only a physician or nurse practitioner may sign it after discussions with you, if you are competent to make decisions, or if you are incapacitated, after discussions with those authorized to act for you or based upon information contained in your Advance Health Care Directive.

You will need a MOLST if you are admitted to certain health care facilities, including assisted living programs, home health agencies, hospices, kidney dialysis centers, and nursing homes.   Hospitals must complete a MOLST for you if you are being discharged to another hospital or to one of these types of facilities.  A completed MOLST will travel with your medical records and can freely pass from one facility to another.

Together, a MOLST and an Advance Health Care Directive can help make sure your wishes regarding your health care are carried out.


Cheryl Jones is a Member in the firm’s Wealth Preservation Group.  She represents individuals and families, business owners, healthcare facilities, corporate executives, foundations and other non-profit entities in matters relating to estate planning, asset protection, and elder law, including asset transfer strategies.  Her practice includes advising LGBT clients on estate and family planning matters, including second parent adoption proceedings.  The scope of Cheryl’s practice includes the preparation of estate planning and trust documents, powers of attorney and health care directives, estate and trust administration, asset protection planning, and certain family law matters, including negotiation and drafting of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, guardianship proceedings, and second parent adoptions.  In addition, Cheryl advises families on elder law issues, particularly planning for the costs of long term care and Medical Assistance (“Medicaid”).  Cheryl also advises on charitable tax matters such as structuring complex charitable gifts, preparing charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts, and forming and administering non-profits and 501(c)(3) charities. She can be contacted by email at or 410-769-6141.


This information is provided for general information only.  None of the information provided herein should be construed as providing legal advice or a separate attorney client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed may differ substantially in individual situations. You should not act upon the information presented herein without consulting an attorney of your choice about your particular situation. While PK Law has taken reasonable efforts to insure the accuracy of this material, the accuracy cannot be guaranteed and PK Law makes no warranties or representations as to its accuracy.