Dancer’s bill expands state will registry to include advance end-of-life directives; creates a public information campaign regarding registry updates

Dancer’s bill expands state will registry to include advance end-of-life directives; creates a public information campaign regarding registry updates

Ron Dancer

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Ron Dancer introduced legislation expanding the will registry maintained by the secretary of state. A person or their attorney would be able to register information regarding the patient’s advance end-of-life directive along with the individual’s will. 

“When a family member falls ill sometimes difficult decisions have to be made,” said Dancer (R-Ocean). “A registry of advance directives can make emotional times less stressful for families during medical emergencies.”

Information that would be part of the registry includes the name of the person making the advance directive, the date the advance directive was made, and sufficient identification of the location of the advance directive at the time of registration.  The registry would not contain a copy of the advance directive and the fee for registration of an advance directive would be $10, which would be deposited into the general fund.  The bill will also establish a public information campaign concerning the will and advance directive registry.  It is Dancer’s intent to heighten public awareness of the registry since many residents today are not aware old this State service.

“Creating public awareness is a vital and essential step in this process,” said Dancer. “New Jerseyans need to be aware of all the available options in times of great distress and emergencies. A single statewide central registry for wills and end-of-life advance directives provides convenience for family members.”

An advance directive is defined in the bill to mean a writing executed in accordance with the requirements of P.L.1991, c.201 (C.26:2H-53 et seq.) which recognizes the right of an adult with decision-making capacity to plan ahead for health care decisions through the execution of advance directives and designate a surrogate decision-maker. In addition, to have their wishes expressed in those documents respected, subject to certain limitations, in order to ensure that the right to control decisions about one’s own health care is not lost if a patient loses decision-making capacity and is no longer able to participate actively in making his own health care decisions.

An advance directive may include a proxy or an instruction, or both.