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5 issues to address in your advance health care directive

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Estate Planning |

An advance health care directive or living will is one of the documents you should draft when estate planning. With this document, you can state your medical care wishes to be observed in the event of incapacitation.

Below are five issues that you’ll want to address in your advance health care directive. Seeking personalized legal guidance can help you clarify whether you need to address additional issues as well.


You can use your living will to state the treatments that you authorize to be administered and those that should be avoided. For example, should cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) be used if your heart stops? Should dialysis be used if your kidneys stop working? Can tube feeding be used when you can’t eat or drink safely by mouth? Can antibiotics be used to treat infections? A physician can provide you with adequate information about different treatments.

End-of-life decisions

Should all measures be observed to prolong your life, or could there be instances where you wouldn’t want your loved ones to prolong your life?

Organ and tissue donations

How do you feel about donating your organs and tissues after you die? Use your living will to express your wishes regarding this matter. You may also state if an autopsy can be authorized or not after your death.

Power of attorney for health care

With an advance health care directive, you can name a power of attorney for health care. This individual will ensure your health care wishes are fulfilled. They will also make other medical decisions on your behalf. For example, they can consent or refuse consent to any treatment, select or discharge health care providers and institutions, approve or disprove diagnostic tests, etc. if you have not left explicit instructions concerning a particular issue with your living will.

Primary physician

If you have a professional whom you would like to designate as your primary physician, you can do so using your living will.

An advance health care directive is a potentially consequential document. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.