Advance Directives for Health Care detail the type of health care you do or do not want when you can’t make decisions for yourself. You should also appoint someone who can legally act on your behalf to make sure your wishes are carried out.
States have specific forms for these documents so health care professionals can easily recognize the document’s purpose. To make things more confusing, states use various terms to describe their advance directive forms. For your specific state, visit our Advance Directives For Health Care by State webpage.
Advance directive is the general term that refers to the various documents that could include a living will, instruction directive, health care proxy or health care power of attorney.
- A living will alerts medical professionals and your family to the treatments you want to receive or refuse. In most states this document only spring into effect if you meet specific medical criteria and are unable to make decisions.
- In a health care power of attorney (or health care proxy) you select the family member or trusted friend you want to make health care decisions for you when you unable to do so. In this document you should give directions to the person you select as your spokesperson (or health care agent or proxy) about the full range of care you want. It is very important that you talk about your health care wishes with the person to whom you giving the legal authority.
Our Advance Directive For Health Care forms can be used in many states. Some states, in particular California and New York, have particular wording and conditions that must be included in the directive. It is your responsibility to check with your state to determine if the health care advance directive meets all of the requirements set forth by the state.
Click the name of the form that most closely matches your needs.