Before you prepare your advance directives:

  • Get information on the types of life-sustaining treatments that are available.
  • Decide what types of treatment you would want or would not want.
  • Share your end-of-life wishes and preferences with your loved ones.

Preparing your own advance directives:

  • You do not need a lawyer to prepare advance directives.
  • Make sure you prepare your advance directive to accurately reflect your decisions.
  • Complete your state-specific advance directives.
  • In most states, you can include special requests in your advance directives such as wishes about organ donation, cremation or burial.
  • You also should be sure to make your physician and loved ones aware of your specific requests so appropriate referrals and arrangements can be made.
  • Ask someone else to look over the documents for you to be sure that you have filled them out correctly.
  • Read all of the instructions carefully to ensure that you have included all of the necessary information and that your documents are witnessed properly.

Once you have completed your advance directive you need to talk to anyone who might be involved in your healthcare decision making. This includes family members, loved ones and your healthcare providers. You want them to understand how you feel about medical treatment at the end of life.