10 Steps to Creating a Living Will


Keep It on File

A recurring problem for those who have living wills is that their health care providers or family members don't know that these documents exist. It's up to you to make sure your doctor has copies of all essential paperwork, including your living will. Consequently, you should make sure to file a copy with your doctor's office and, if you are checking into the hospital for a major procedure, bring an additional copy with you.

Keep a copy of your living will in a (ideally fireproof) safe at home, and make sure your health care proxy can access it if needed. If you have an alternate health care proxy, make sure he or she also has a copy.

You should also look into whether your state operates an online living will registry. Such a registry allows you to file your living will with the state department of health. It may also provide other services, such as stickers to put on your health insurance card and driver's license or a separate card to keep in your wallet. All of these efforts are in support of one thing: making sure that your health care wishes are honored.