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What are the different types of advance directives?

While tending to estate planning matters, you learn about advance directives. Did you know that different advance directives exist? 

The American Cancer Society breaks down different advance directives. Get insight into covering all bases in your estate. 

Living will

With the living will advance directive, you note specific health care decisions you wish medical professionals to know if you become comatose or terminally ill. The document also notes specific circumstances under which you want to receive or cease life-prolonging treatment, such as breathing machines and dialysis. You reserve the right to rescind or terminate your living will whenever you desire. 

Medical power of attorney/durable power of attorney for health care

Besides a document noting your medical wishes if you become incapacitated, you can also create a medical power of attorney to name a proxy to make medical decisions for you if you cannot. Your proxy may use your living will to relate your health care desires to medical professionals, but the person may also consider what you would want for medical situations and circumstances that you do not cover on your living will. Reflect carefully on the person you name as proxy, as this person should respect your desires even if she or he does not agree with them. 

Physician orders for life-sustaining treatment

If you become severely ill, you may fill out a physician orders for life-sustaining treatment form. The document, which your doctor must sign, addresses your desires for emergency medical care, such as CPR and using a breathing machine. One reason to have a living will and POLST as part of your estate plan is that paramedics cannot honor a person’s living will, only her or his POLST. 

Take control of your health even when you cannot communicate. Use advance directives to keep medical professionals informed of your desires.