Costa Rica: San JoséFlamingo Tamarindo Nosara


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

June, 2022

As we informed you in the previous email, Costa Rica approved in the second debate the bill "Advance Directives Law", which takes a fundamental step in respecting the autonomy of people over their lives in terms of care and treatment medical.

Questions for better understanding the exercise of this right

- How can the Advance directive be executed?
The Law provides three options for executing it

Before a CR Notary Public plus two witnesses.
Before at least two healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, or clinical psychologists) plus two witnesses.
Before one clerk from the National Registry of Advance Declaration of Will plus two witnesses.

The Witnesses shall be of legal age, with legal capacity, and not being family related with the grantor by marriage, free union or de facto union, or relationship up to the second degree by consanguinity or affinity.
All public and private health centers must provide the necessary measures for exercising this Right. Said declaration will be kept in the clinical file with confidentiality and protected by the terms established in Law N° 8968, the Costa Rican Personal data protection Law.

- The Advance directive can be modified and must be updated?At any time can be modified, revoked, or updated. However, the Law establishes that the advance declaration of will must be updated every five years to verify if what was stipulated remains valid or if there are medical advances in treatments.
- What is expressly prohibited by the Law?This Law contains an express prohibition of Euthanasia stipulated in sections one and twelve. Euthanasia remains prohibited and is an illegal practice in Costa Rica.
  - What are the limitations of the Advanced directives?
Section four of the Law outlines the limitations of the Advanced directives among them: any containing actions prohibited by laws or against the best medical practices or when the Advance directives suppose an omission of a medical procedure that puts public health at risk (highly contagious diseases, radiation, etc.).

It is essential to understand the legal implications of this new Law. We will keep you informed in the following articles. We are at your service at

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