| Thu, Jan 08, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

No More Excuses. Create Your Advance Directive and Living Will

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

living willNobody wants to make end-of-life decisions for themselves by drawing up an advance health directive. The excuses not to do it are endless. Some people don’t know how to get started. Other people are superstitious and think the mere act of talking about it will tempt fate. Others may be stubborn. Whatever your reason is for resisting this very important task, arrangements will have to be made eventually, and hopefully not by someone who doesn’t know you or your wishes. For most people and their families, it’s best to make your own decisions before they’re needed. By creating a health care directive, you may be giving your family one of the best gifts you could ever give them.

Get Started

  • Download the necessary paperwork applicable to your state. These documents may include a durable power of attorney for health care, a living will and after-death wishes.
  • Create a living will to tell doctors how you want to be treated if you are dying, permanently unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate your wishes.
  • Create a durable power of attorney with the name of the healthcare proxy who will make decisions for you if you are unable to make them for yourself. Your proxy can help ensure that the wishes of your living will are carried out.
  • Write a will and name an executor who can manage settling your estate. You can also define your funeral, burial or cremation wishes for the executor or another person you name to follow.
  • Make a file of all financial and insurance account numbers, passwords and safety deposit box locations. Make sure your executor knows where this file is and how to access your accounts.

You can change your advance directives at any time, even after the documents are signed, as long as you are able to make decisions for yourself. Discussing end-of-life arrangements can be uncomfortable. But once it’s done, forget about it and enjoy your life.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.


Take this quiz to test your knowledge of end-of-life health care issues. (NIH Senior Health)

End of Life, Handling Health Care Issues: NIH Senior Health

Download Your State’s Advance Directives: Free advance directives and instructions for each state. (Caring Connections)

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