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Types of Advance Directives

Living Will (LW)

This is the most popularly known type of advance directive. It relates only to end-of-life issues. A Living Will goes into effect when you become incapacitated (unable to make decisions) and when your physician has diagnosed you with a terminal illness, in an end-stage condition, or in a permanent vegetative state. Learn more about Living Wills.

Health Care Surrogate

As with the Living Will, this type of advance directive goes into effect when you become incapacitated. Unlike the Living Will, however, the Health Care Surrogate may be used to deal with any illness situation in addition to end-of-life issues. As a result, its scope is broader than that of a Living Will. It also permits you to appoint a specific person (surrogate) who will make decisions on your behalf as well as a backup surrogate if you wish. Learn more about Health Care Surrogates.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

This type of advance directive is essentially the same as the Health Care Surrogate, except it requires notarization.

A Do-Not-Resuscitate Order

(DNR), a Do-Not-Intubate Order (DNI), or Organ Donation commitments are also advance directives that can stand alone. For our purposes, each can be included in one of the three types of ADs discussed above.The DNR, DNI, and Organ Donation are discussed in the section about information you should put into your AD.

For an in-depth explanation on advance directives, refer to the Health Article Advance Care Directives