April 16th, 2015




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    What is an advance directive?

    All adults can benefit from thinking about what their healthcare choices would be if they are unable to speak for themselves.  These decisions can be written down in an advance directive so that others know what they are.  Advance directives come in two main forms:
    • A "healthcare power of attorney" (or "proxy" or "agent" or "surrogate") documents the person you select to be your voice for your healthcare decisions if you cannot speak for yourself. 
    • A "living will" documents what kinds of medical treatments you would or would not want at the end of life.

    Where can I get an advance directive?

    Below is a quick list of places to find advance directive documents. The same list is available below in the section titled "Get an Advance Directive" with more information about each organization.

  • A|D Vault/MyDirectives (Platform to complete free advance directives online)
  • Aging With Dignity (Five Wishes) - Order Online 
  • Caring Connections - Download Free State Specific Advance Directives 
  • Center for Practical Bioethics - Download for free 
  • Compassion & Choices -  State-Specific Advance Directive Material
  • DeathWise - Download Free State-Specific Advance Directives 
  • everplans - Checklists & Free State-Specific Advance Directives
  • Lifecare Advance Directives - Advance Directive Support Documents 
  • MedicAlert Foundation - Advance Directives for all 50 States
  • National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives
  • Project GRACE - Download 
  • The Will to Live Project
  • The Patients’ Rights Council
  • US Living Will Registry
  • How can I learn more about advance directives and advance care planning?

    Where can I find state specific resources?

    State Specific Resources


    Resources for Family Conversations 

    Conversation Project

    The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. They are focused on generating conversations about healthcare wishes with family members and ensuring individuals have thought through what they want at the end of life.


    Deathwise is passionate about motivating people to talk about, make decisions, plan for the end of their lives and then documenting their wishes in an advance directive to ensure their preferences are communicated to their medical services providers, family and friends. Wise Conversations provides trained coaches to meet with and guide small groups of people through conversations about clarifying choices and the process of completing advance directives.

    Engage With Grace

    Engage with Grace is a movement with the goal to help people discuss what's important to them so their end of life experience just as purposeful as the way in which they live their lifes. Their movement calls on people to engage in a blog rally every Thanksgiving and also has a call to action to participate in their One Slide project. The One Slide features just five questions designed to get the conversation about end of life care started with loved ones. The Engage with Grace Blog Rally has a different theme every year at Thanksgiving and is an opportunity for people to donate their Facebook, Twitter and Blog updates to raise awareness about the importance of end of life conversations. 

    Go Wish Cards

    Coda Alliance has a "Go Wish Game," a card game that is a simple way to think and talk about what's important to individuals and their family members if someone becomes seriously ill.



    LastingMatters helps any adult, at any age, compile, document and clearly communicate  important information, intentions and wishes.  The LastingMatters Organizer is a practical and comprehensive planning guide helping to reduce the costs, time, stress and family pressures associated with the death of a loved one.


    My Gift of Grace

    My Gift of Grace is a conversation game for living and dying well. Designed as a fun, engaging way to start conversations with any group, the game is a tool suitable for players at all life stages.

    My Healthcare Wishes App

    The My Healthcare Wishes App is a smartphone application for storing advance directives and other important health information.


    PREPARE also refered to as PREPARE For Your Care, is an interactive website serving as a resource for families navigating medical decision making. A printable pamphlet with tips by PREPARE is available here.



    Legal Resources

    American Bar Association Advance Care Planning Toolkit

    Get An Advance Directive

    Aging With Dignity (Five Wishes)

    The Five Wishes document helps individuals express care options and preferences. The advance directive meets the legal requirements in most states and is available in 20 languages for a nominal fee. Order online or call 850.681.2010.

    Caring Connections

    Caring Connections offers free, state-specific advance directives for all 50 states and DC that meet the legal requirements for each state.  Download individual copies for free or call 800.658.8898 to have a copy mailed to you.

    Center for Practical Bioethics

    Caring Conversations is a workbook to help individuals and families communicate with each other about their healthcare preferences and contains advance directive documents.  These forms are valid in every state when notarized and signed by two witnesses.  Download for free or call800.344.3829 to order.  

    Compassion & Choices

    Compassion & Choices offers an advance care planning tool kit and state-specific advance directive materials.

    Lifecare Advance Directives

    The Lifecare Advance Directive website offers free state-standard advance directives for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four major United States territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands). Research validated comprehensive advance directies, as well as completion guides, agent guides, and other important advance directive support documents are also available.

    MedicAlert Foundation

    The MedicAlert Foundation offers emergency medical information and identification services including Do Not Resuscitate medical IDs and option to store advance directives for all 50 states.


    MyDirectives is a free online platform for completing an advance directive which is then stored in a secure database available to you and your medical providers 24-7 to ensure one clear, well-thought-out document. My Directives also features a Discussion Guide and Conversation Starters to help patients and families have discussions with doctors, other family and a healthcare agent.   

    National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives

    National Resource Center on Psychiatric Advance Directives offers general and state-specific information on psychiatric advance directives.

    Project GRACE

    Project GRACE - Guidelines for Resuscitation and Care at End-of-Life, offers a free Advance Care Planning Document that is legally valid in states that do not require forms to be notarized. Download for free, or call 877.99.GRACE to order a copy.

    The Will to Live Project

    The Will to Live Project  provides state specific forms for designating an agent and stating healthcare wishes. 

    The Patients’ Rights Council

    The Patients’ Rights Council offers a durable power of attorney document (in either multistate or state-specific versions) that expressly defines and prohibits euthanasia.

    Organ Donation


    The links to the various resources are provided as a convenience.  NHDD does not specifically endorse any particular resource.  Furthermore, you should check the specific legal rules in your state if you elect to use any national resources.


    Learn about the purpose of NHDD.