Communicate Your Advance Directives for Health Care

grandparents and grandchild, a smiling couple

If you had a serious accident or illness that caused permanent loss of mental capacity, leaving you unable to tell your doctor which medical treatments you did or did not want, would your loved ones know what to do? Who would make these decisions for you? If you couldn’t make your wishes known, how could you make sure they were respected?

If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t taken time to complete or discuss documents known as advance directives for health care. Advance directives include a living will and durable power of attorney for health care. They allow you to give instructions on these topics to your health-care providers and loved ones, relieving them of the burden of guessing what you want.

The choices you make as you prepare these documents should be based on your personal values, beliefs, preferences, and discussions with loved ones. Since it’s impossible to foresee future circumstances or illness, think in general terms about what’s important to you.

In this learning lesson you will:

  • Learn about advance directives for health care, including living wills and durable powers of attorney for health care
  • Explore ways to communicate your health-care wishes
  • Increase your knowledge by taking a quiz on advance directives for health care and reviewing several case studies
  • Become aware of ways to hold a family meeting to discuss end-of-life issues
  • Gain insights from others through streaming videos of individuals and families who prepared advance directives for health care and communicated their choices

Lesson Contents

I. Introduction

II. Advance Directives for Health Care

III. Starting an Advance Directive Discussion

IV. Learn More


Resources and Tools

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Communicate Your Advance Directives for Health Care belongs to a series called Legally Secure Your Financial Future. The series also includes information to help you organize important household papers and begin preparing your estate plan.