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Advance Directives and Living Wills

This is a helpful resource on Advance Directives and Living Wills.


"An important component of estate planning is drafting an advance directive, or setting forth your health care wishes in the event that you become ill, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to communicate your medical treatment preferences to a doctor. The rules for how to prepare advance directive documents such as living wills and health care powers of attorney vary depending on where you live, but in each state there are forms you can use to memorialize your instructions in a legally binding manner.

The kinds of documents that may comprise an advance directive usually include some version of a living will, or instructions related to the health care you wish to receive or not receive if you cannot express your preferences, and a health care power of attorney, which gives someone else the authority to make medical and end-of-life decisions on your behalf (this person may be referred to as your health care agent or surrogate). Some states include other optional forms, such as those related to organ donation or do not resuscitate (DNR) orders."

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