Plan Early: Completing Your Advance Directive

By: Emily MacMillan

November 15, 2022

mid-aged couple sitting together with coffee mugs and pen and paper

We plan for the birth of a child, weddings and retirement, but rarely do we discuss how we want to be cared for at the end of our lives. Getting through this challenging conversation and completing an Advance Directive can give you peace of mind that your loved ones will not have to make difficult choices on your behalf.

The best time to complete an Advance Directive is now – don’t wait until a life-limiting illness or crisis occurs to discuss your views about end-of-life care and to learn what choices are available. By preparing in advance, you can help reduce the doubt and anxiety related to decision-making for your family if you cannot speak for yourself.

What are Advance Directives?

An Advance Directive is a document that states your choices about medical treatment and names another person to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to. This document allows you to make legally valid decisions about future medical care. 

“Completing your Advance Directive is a gift you give your family,” says Director of Palliative Care, Mary-Ann Brown RN, MSN. “The stress associated with these difficult decisions is decreased if everyone knows what is important to you and what you want at the end of life.”

Having the Conversation

The first step in completing an Advance Directive is to think about what’s important to you and talk to your loved ones. The Conversation Project provides helpful tools to guide you and your family through this challenging topic. Getting this information together will help you fill out and complete your Advance Directive.
Some things to consider and discuss with your family include:

  • When you think about the last phase of your life, what’s most important to you?
  • Who do you want involved in your care?
  • Who should make decisions on your behalf if you’re not able to?
  • Where do you want or not want to receive care?
  • Are there specific treatments you would or would not want?

Complete Your Planning

To complete an Advance Directive, you will need either two witnesses or a notary to sign the form. Be sure to note restrictions on the witness process. When an Advance Directive is complete, you should keep the original. Copies should be given to your agent named in the form, your family, your doctor(s) and the location where you receive care. Click here for more information on Advance Care Planning and how to complete your Advance Directive. 

    • Previous Article

    Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

    August is National Make-a-Will month. We talked to Renown Health Foundation Planned Giving Officer, Abbey Stephenson, to learn more about wills, trusts, and estate plans and why you should feel motivated this month to get started. Did you...
    Read More
    • Next Article

    11 Tips Caregivers Need to Know

    Becoming a caregiver or playing a more active role in another’s healthcare is a big responsibility. At some point, almost all adults will support an aging parent or a loved one in need. Keeping track of their needs and wellbeing, while...
    Read More

Related Events

View All Classes & Events