Obtaining Advance Directive Documents for Your State

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Each state has its own laws regarding advance directives, and many states have their own forms. Federal law requires hospitals to provide information about advance directives to people in their communities; contact the patient representative or social services department at a hospital near you and request copies. You may also be able to pick up advance-directive forms from your local Office on Aging, state Attorney General’s office, or nearby AARP chapters, senior centers, and assisted living or nursing facilities.

In most—but not all—states, you won’t need to hire an attorney to prepare these documents. Information regarding your particular state’s laws can often be found on web sites for your state’s Attorney General, Statutes, Department of Health, Department of Social Services, Department of Motor Vehicles (driver’s license division), bar association, or medical library. When using the Internet, make sure you are accessing the latest and most accurate information about your state’s health-care advance directives.

Lesson Contents

I. Introduction

II. Advance Directives for Health Care

a. Living Will
b. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
c. Obtaining Advance Directive Documents for Your State
d. Storing Your Advance Directives for Health Care
e. Changing or Updating Your Documents

III. Starting an Advance Directive Discussion

V. Learn More


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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.