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Make your medical wishes clear

Eliminate any concerns about what happens to you if you become unable to voice your health care decisions. Using our guided process, you can specify exactly what you want, or don’t want, from the comfort of home. Ensure your wishes are honored with a health care directive and free HIPAA release form.

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Make your health care wishes known so you stay in control of your treatment. Our guided questionnaire makes the process easy and inexpensive.

Health Care Directive

For One Person

A do-it-yourself health care directive that’s easy to personalize.

What’s included:
What’s included
Step-by-step guided process
A health care directive tailored to your needs
Attorney-approved document compliant with your state’s laws
Free HIPAA release form
Free changes and revisions to your document for up to a full year after purchase


Estate Planning Package

For One person

All the forms you need to create a personal estate plan

What’s included:
What’s included
Last will and testament
Health care directive
Power of attorney
Free HIPAA release form
A comprehensive plan — for less
Free changes and revisions for up to one year after purchase

Do I need a health care directive and HIPAA release form?

In the event that you are ever terminally ill or injured, you could become unable to communicate your health care wishes. A health care directive allows you to express your treatment decisions in advance, you can also name someone to make these decisions on your behalf. The free HIPAA release form allows you to authorize your health care provider to release your medical information.

Affirm your treatment decisions

You decide what health care treatments to receive or refuse in the event you aren’t able to speak for yourself

Appoint a health care agent

Take control by choosing someone you trust to make health care decisions on your behalf

Ease family stress

Make your end-of-life health care decisions now so your family doesn’t have to decide later

Create your health care directive and HIPAA release form in under an hour

Create an account

Create a secure account which is accessible through an easy dashboard for convenient access any time

Answer some questions

Decide who will be your health care agent/proxy, which treatments you would request or refuse and release your records

Complete your document

Answer all questions, then we’ll generate your digital documents for downloading, printing, and signing

Make it legal

Print and sign your document according to instructions. Give copies to your doctors and agent/proxy

Free Download

Plan for your future with confidence

This free guide will help you:

  • Learn the most common estate planning terms

  • Understand the essential estate planning tools

  • Gather critical information with an estate planning checklist

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Frequently asked questions about health care directives

A health care directive, also called a “health care power of attorney,” “health care proxy,” “advance directive,” “living will,” or some other similar term, is where you express your choices for medical care in the event that you become incapacitated and unable to give informed consent to treatment. You can also nominate an agent to make decisions on your behalf, should you become incapacitated.

If you have strong opinions on life support in the event of a terminal condition, you can express your end-of-life care wishes in your health care directive. Depending on your state, you may be able to use a health care directive to communicate your wishes on organ donation, pain treatment, specific medical procedures, and more. Although these are difficult decisions, it can be reassuring to know that you have a plan for all medical possibilities.

For many people, the main purpose of a health care directive is to express their wishes on life-prolonging treatments. They would choose a natural death rather than allowing health care professionals to administer ventilation, feeding tubes, and intravenous fluids.

In your health care directive, you can make decisions on treatments such as:

  • Short term versus long term treatments. You may opt for short-term life-sustaining treatment if you have a chance for recovery. For example, you may consent to dialysis or a respirator after surgery, but not in a persistent vegetative state.
  • Pain treatment. You can specify your wishes for comfort care and pain medication.
  • Tube feeding or artificial hydration. If you would prefer not to receive artificial nutrition or intravenous fluids, you can make this clear.
  • CPR. Healthcare providers use cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if your heart or breathing stops. CPR can include mouth-to-mouth, electric shock, and more. With a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order, you can instruct doctors and paramedics to avoid CPR. You typically need to ask your doctor to execute a DNR for you. You can include this as a supplement to your health care directive.

It is a good idea for everyone to have a health care directive. If you would like to make your own treatment choices in case of an incapacitating medical condition, you need a health care directive.

Additionally, your loved ones may struggle deciding which procedures to consent to on your behalf if you become incapacitated. This could cause hardship and stress. You may be able to prevent this by signing a health care directive.

One of the main reasons people create health care directives is to make their end-of-life treatment wishes clear. If you would refuse heroic life-prolonging treatments in the event of a terminal condition, you can state this in your health care directive. However, this document isn’t only for end-of-life issues. You can also use it to communicate your pain treatment wishes and make other specific requests.

The laws on health care directives vary somewhat from state to state. Click on your state above to learn more.

States generally require the following to make your document valid:

  • You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to execute a health care directive.
  • You must sign the health care directive or instruct someone to sign it for you. If someone signs for you, this person usually cannot act as a witness.
  • In some states, your health care directive must be notarized. In other states, you must gather two adults to witness your signature and sign their names to your health care directive.

Like other legal documents, health care directives must comply with your state’s laws. When you purchase a health care directive with FindLaw, you can relax knowing that experienced attorneys have tailored the document to meet your state’s requirements. Further, you will receive signing instructions that are specific to your state.

The language that people use for these documents can get a little confusing. To simplify things, you can think of the term “health care directive” as a category that includes both health care directives and living wills.

living will is a document you can use to put your treatment choices into writing in case you are ever medically incapacitated and unable to communicate your health care preferences.

medical power of attorney (also known as a health care power of attorney or health care proxy) is another name for a health care directive. With this document, you can appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions on your behalf. This person is usually called a health care agent or health care proxy.

Although a living will and a will have confusingly similar names, they are very different legal documents.

A last will and testament (a “will”) is the cornerstone of a good estate plan. You use your will to decide who will receive your property after you die. You cannot use your will to make medical choices.

A living will, also known as a health care directive, is another important document in your estate plan. In it, you can express your health care preferences in the event of medical incapacity. You cannot use your  health care directive to provide for the distribution of your assets after your death.

Unless you have a complicated situation, you can most likely complete your health care directive without meeting a lawyer. After you complete FindLaw’s guided process, which was developed by attorneys, you will receive a health care directive that is personalized to your state’s laws and your needs.

FindLaw is not a law firm, and the forms are not a substitute for the advice or services of an attorney. In certain complex situations, you may need to seek the advice of an attorney. For example, if your family strongly disagrees with your medical choices, this may cause conflict or confusion.

In some circumstances, a family member could even challenge the validity of your health care directive. If this could apply to you, or if there are other complications, it is wise to consult an estate planning attorney. This can help to reduce the likelihood that your family members challenge your health care directive in court.

A HIPAA release form is a document that allows you to authorize your health care provider (for example, your doctor or your hospital) to release your medical information to another individual or third party of your choice.

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Ready to begin your health care directive?

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The FindLaw Difference

A simple and affordable do-it-yourself guided process. Create on your timeline, your way.

  • Attorney-created and reviewed

    Our attorney-designed documents meet the specific needs of your state. This takes the guesswork out of choosing the right forms. We also include state-specific signature, witness, and notarization requirements.

  • State-specific documents

    Each state has different requirements for creating an estate plan. Licensed attorneys carefully created and reviewed our forms to address estate planning needs for each state and the District of Colombia.

  • A year of unlimited updates

    Life changes quickly and so do your needs. Enjoy free edits and updates to your forms for up to a full year after purchase.

You may want to reach out to a directory attorney if:

  • You want a legal review of your completed will
  • You have significant assets
  • You have children with special needs
  • You have other unique family circumstances
  • You have a blended family
  • You are interested in more advanced estate planning tools