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The Importance of Making Your Wishes Known

Advance care planning outlines what kind of treatments and interventions you would like to receive in a health emergency, even if you become unable to communicate medical decisions. These legally binding documents, also known as advance directives, allow you to explain your wishes regarding life support, resuscitation and other details.

It can be difficult to think about critical care or end-of-life decisions. But by doing so now, you can give your loved ones the priceless gift of peace of mind. You, your family and your caregivers will find comfort knowing there’s a plan.

There are two types of advance directives: a Living Will and a Designation of Health Care Surrogate form. Both forms can be changed at any time, and it's a good idea to review them periodically. You can learn more about advance directives here and download the forms here.

What an Advance Care Plan Can Do for You

There's no legal requirement to have an advance directive. But if you haven't made one, your health care decisions may be made for you by your spouse, your adult child, your adult sibling, an adult relative or a close friend. Here’s what you should know about these important documents.

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Finding Support and Getting Started

Talk to your doctor for personalized guidance on advance care planning. Once you've created your advance directives, let members of your immediate family, especially your health care surrogate, know about them and where they're located. Be sure to also bring a copy of your advance directives with you if you're admitted to the hospital.

Click below to download the forms. Please note that you must have two adults witness your medical directives, and only one of them can be a spouse or blood relative. You can change or cancel them at any time, but changes should be written, signed and dated.