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Advance Directives (cont.)

Facts About Advance Directives

  • A lawyer may be helpful with the completion of these matters, but one is not required.
  • You can designate information regarding organ donation in most advance directive documents.
  • You can withdraw, change, or revoke your advance directive at any time you choose.
  • The laws regarding advance directives vary from state to state. Legal experts agree, however, that most states will honor an out-of-state advance directive if it meets legal requirements in the state that it was executed.
  • Give copies of your advance directive to people who may be called on to act as or identify your surrogate.
    • In the untimely event of a medical emergency, those closest to you will need to know where the papers are in order to provide them to the medical personnel.
    • Without legal paperwork, emergency personnel must do everything possible to attempt to revive someone.
  • A living will does not mean the withholding of pain medications or other comfort measures. The living will is a way to express your wishes for medical treatment and, if the situation warrants, die with dignity. Pain medication and comfort measures are provided whenever required to minimize suffering and make the dying as comfortable as possible.

Resources for Advance Directives

The best place for information on advance directives is to start with your family doctor. Your doctor is able to discuss your medical condition, treatment options, and procedures, as well as outline what would happen in certain situations. Your doctor should also be able to supply you with the necessary paperwork to properly complete an advance directive.

Medically reviewed by Joseph Palermo, DO; American Osteopathic Board Certified Internal Medicine


Goodman, J., and P. Hartzband. "Advance directives are the beginning of care, not the end." ACP Internist 32.7 July/August 2012.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/15/2016

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