Costa Rica: San JoséFlamingo Tamarindo Nosara


Ley de voluntades anticipadas. Law for advance directives for medical decisions

May, 2022

Costa Rica took an essential step in respecting the people's autonomy over their life regarding health care and medical treatment. Congress approved the bill Ley de voluntades anticipadas Advance directives for medical decisions in the second debate on April 26th, 2022. This Law will become enacted once it is published in La Gaceta journal, but it will be required to have the regulation approved by the Government within six months from the date the Law is published.

Relevant aspects of this Law?
This Law allows people to express their will to dispose of their bodies when they undergo medical interventions to safeguard the person's life or the vital functions of their organism by executing a document called Advance declaration of will. In Some countries, known as Living or vital will or Advance directives for medical decisions.


The exercise of this Right will be held by any person of legal age (18 years or older), with legal capacity, who can express their will clearly, freely, and consciously  The written document will specify the medical care they want or don't want, including when the medical scenario becomes critical, and the patient cannot communicate their will. The medical personnel, relatives, or guardians must refer to and follow the Advance declaration of will or directives for medical decisions.

Questions for better understanding the exercise of this right

- Who can execute the Advance directives?
Any person of legal age, with legal capacity, who can express their will clearly, freely, and consciously 

- What can be disposed of in Advance directives?
The Advance directives will have a different content depending on everyone's detailed medical history and moral and spiritual beliefs. The advanced directives can include, among others: disposition about the treatment of diseases the person already has or others that could eventually appear, preferences for other medical decisions such as treatments near the end of life, palliative measures in case of terminal disease, organ donation, and blood transfusions, designation of healthcare executor representante sanitario and two substitutes.


In our next email you will find other questions for a better understanding of the exercise of this right; as its limitations, prohibitions, among others.

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