Find a Form of Advance Health Care Directive (or even start from scratch)

Man with Advance Directive FormNow that you are well on your way determining your end-of-life wishes, and have discussed them with your spouse or partner, other family members and perhaps your spiritual advisor and a few close friends, it is time to write your advance health care directive (in some states, it is called a living will with power of attorney for health care).

You can use the form provided here, or use any other that fits your needs. The form provided here focuses on quality of life. All key provisions are on one page, which makes it easy for the doctor to read it quickly. Other forms focus on medical interventions. You may want to look at several, and choose the form that best suits you.

As noted elsewhere, you are basically free to write what you want in your advance directive.

But you are not free as to its execution (signing). Each state has its own rules and there are significant variances. Go to Finalization for websites that will give you the requirements for your state. In California signing before a notary is perhaps the easiest. You may also sign before two witness, provided they do not fall in certain categories; they must sign too. Again, go to Finalization for more information.

Now That You Have Your Advance Health Care Directive

There is one final step. Your advance directive needs to be readily accessible. You must make and distribute copies. Below is where to put them; one or more may not apply to you. However, those in bold are a must: .

  • Your proxy (agent). Be sure to discuss it in detail with her/him.
  • Your partner (if not your proxy). Again, discuss it.
  • Your primary care physician. Discuss it.
  • Other family members. Be sure to tell them who is your proxy.
  • Other doctors who are treating you for major illnesses such as cancer.
  • Your local hospital.

Place copies in or with:

  • Your other important documents (the original should be kept here).
  • Your house – some logical place easy for others to find.
  • Your car.
  • On a thumb drive or other electronic media that you carry with you.
  • Your cell phone. The American Bar Association has an app for storing your advance directive and other documents:

Don’t forget, you can revoke, replace or change your advance directive any time. Be sure, in the new document, to revoke the prior one.

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