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An advance healthcare directive refers to a legal document that states our medical decisions if we cannot make the decisions in the future due to illness or incapacity. It defines our healthcare desires and values related to end-of-life decisions, including artificial nutrition, dialysis, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), etc.

Let’s briefly discuss the types of advance directive, their importance, and the easy method to write them down.

Two basic types of the advance directive:

  1. “The living will” directive allows us to state important medical decisions about ourselves. The decisions in this directive will only be applicable if we become unable to make the decisions on our own.
  2. “Medical Power of attorney” is a legal document in which we can specify or nominate a person as a healthcare proxy who would take medical decisions on our behalf if we become unable to.

What should we include in the advance care directive?

We can mention any of our medical decisions related to end-of-life in the advance care directive, such as the following,

  • The choice to prolong life or not

It allows us to mention whether we want to prolong life or not if we have an irreversible condition, or become unconscious, and treatment’s risks outweigh the benefits. Take an example of ventilator support or CPR needed in an unconscious patient with stage IV lung carcinoma.

  • The choice to get relief from pain or not

In this section, we can mention whether we need opioids or other lethal painkillers for pain relief if we become incapacitated or terminally ill.

  • The decision to donate any organ at death

We can also specify any organs or tissues that we may want to be donated at the death.

  • Designate a primary physician

It also allows us to specifically designate a physician as our primary physician if we cannot make the decisions on our own.

Similarly, we can also nominate an individual our durable power of attorney regarding the medical decisions if we ever become incapacitated to make those decisions.

Using doyourownwill, we can easily create these legal documents online, print them, and sign them.

Can we change any decision in the advance directive?

Absolutely, we can change or revoke everything mentioned in these documents. We just need to create the new document and then forward the copies to the primary physician, family, or concerned people. However, if we’re not in a condition to create the new legal document, our orally expressed directions to our physician will always be preferred to the old advance care directive.


An advance directive gives us an opportunity to express our medical decisions related to end-of-life if we become incapacitated or ill enough not to make the decisions on our own. Moreover, we can also designate a person as a durable power of attorney to take the decisions on our behalf under such circumstances. These decisions may include artificial nutrition, mechanical ventilation, organ donation, et al.

However, an advance directive is not immutable as we can change anything in it at any time. Doyourownwill provides an easy way to create both of these documents.

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