Your guide for healthy aging

         None                                                                      None                                                                              Advanced Health Care Directive 

 Declaration to Physicians                            Power of Attorney for Health Care                                                   None 

         Living Will                                                      Medical Power of Attorney                                                               None 

 Health Care Directive                                         DPOA for Health Care                                                                     None 

         None                                                                      None                                                                                    Advanced Medical Directive 

         None                                                                      None                                                                                         Advanced Directive 

         None                                                                      None                                                                                Advanced Health Care Directive 

         None                                                                      None                                                                               Advanced Health Care Directive 

Directive to Physicians and family or Surrogates         Medical Power of Attorney                                                             None

 Living Will Declaration                                        DPOA for Health Care                                                                    None

   Declaration                                                         DPOA for Health Care                                                       (Available within DPOA)

   Declaration                                                         DPOA for Health Care                                                                     None

    Living Will                                                        Health Power of Attorney                                                                   None 

         None                                                                      None                                                                                        Advanced Directive 

         None                                                                      None                                                                                    DPOA for Health Care

         None                                                                      None                                                                             Advanced Directive for Health Care

         None                                                                      None                                                                                    Health Care Directive

     Advanced Directive                                    Health Care Power of Attorney                                                        None

 Document Directing Health Care                   Health Care Proxy                                                                            None

         None                                                                      None                                                                             Advanced Health Care Directive

Instructive Directive                                            Proxy Directive                                           Combined Advanced Directive for Health Care

     None                                                                    None                                                                                       Advanced Directive

   Declaration                                                 DPOA for Health Care Decisions                                                        None

   Declaration                                                          DPOA for Health Care                                                                   None

   Declaration                                                          DPOA for Health Care                                                                   None

   Declaration                                                          DPOA for Health Care                                                                   None

        None                                                                     None                                                                             Advanced Health Care Directive

         None                                                                     None                                                                                    Health Care Directive

  Document Directing Health Care                    Patient Advocate Designation                                                            None

      Document Directing Health Care                        Health Care Proxy                                                                            None

         None                                                                     None                                                                                     Advanced Directive

         None                                                                      None                                                                            Advanced Health Care Directive

         None                                                                      None                                                                                     Advanced Directive

         None                                                                      None                                                                                  Living Will Declaration

     Declaration                                          DPOA for Health Care Decisions                                                            None

     Declaration                                               DPOA for Health Care                                                                          None

 Living Will Declaration             DPOA for Health Care and Appointment of HCR***                                    None

        Declaration                                               DPOA for Health Care                                                             (Available within DPOA)

           None                                                                      None                                                        Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care

           None                                                                      None                                                                                Advanced Health Care Directive

           None                                                                       None                                                                          Advanced Directive for Health Care

       Living Will                                           Designated Health Care Serrogate                                                         None

     Declaration                                                  DPOA for Health Care                                                                        None

           None                                                                     None                                                                      Advanced Health Care Directive

Documents Concerning HCWWLSS**                   Appointment of Health Care Representative                               Health Care Instructions and Appointment of HCR*** 

*MST = Medical and Surgical Treatment

**HCWWLSS = Document Concerning Health Care and With­holding or Withdrawal of Life Support Systems 

***HCR= Health Care Representative

   Declaration as to MST* 

Medical Durable Power of Attorney                                                                                       None

Living Will                                                    DPOA for Health Care                                                                        None

     None                                                                      None                                                                           Advanced Health Care Directive      

     None                                                                     None                                                                      Advanced Directive for Health Care

     None                                                                     None                                                                           Advanced Health Care Directive

Living Will                                                   DPOA for Health Care                                                                         None


















Kentucky Louisiana











New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

N. Carolina

N. Dakota 


Oklahoma Oregan


Rhode Island

S. Carolina

S. Dakota

Tennessee Texas 



Virginia Washington

W. Virginia



State              Living Will                  Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)           Advanced Directive

Living Will Terms in Your State

Each  state has it's own official term for a Living Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and Advance Directive (if applicable). Here is an alphabetized list of each state with the United States along with their corresponding term for a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney. If a one document system is available in the form of an Advanced Directive, it is also listed. 


Are You in a One-Document State or a Two-Document State?

Some states require two documents – both a living will and a power of attorney for healthcare, which complement one another. Other states have simplified the process by using an advance directive, which combines the living will and power of attorney for health care. In other words, some states use a one-document system and others use a two-document system:

  • One-document system: A single document specifies your wishes and also empowers a health care proxy
  • Two-document system: Separate documents specify healthcare wishes and empower a health care proxy

Making Sense of Living Wills

Before completing any forms, you may want to familiarize yourself with the basic of living wills and associated documents like power of attorney for health care. Unfortunately, the terminology of living wills can be a bit confusing. This is  a consequence of  living in a nation with 50 semi-sovereign states  that have their own legal systems. Some states simply call a living will a living will, but others have inexplicably wordy and idiosyncratic terms. 

 To help you quickly understand the requirements and terminology in your state, here are definitions of the most standard terms for the three main documents related to your healthcare wishes. You can then refer to the alphabetical list of states below to see what this document is officially called in your state:

  • Living Will: A document that expresses your healthcare and end-of-life care wishes.
  • Power of Attorney for Health Care: A document naming a person to help assure your healthcare issues are honored and with authority to make medical decisions for you in areas where your wishes are unspecified or unclear. This person is called a “health care proxy,” “agent”, or “surrogate”.
  • Advance Directive: A document that combines the powers of a living will and power of attorney for health care.
Links to your FREE, downloadable, state-specific living will:

If you have older parents, there’s a good chance they have already completed a living will. While for all adults, living will adoption is 42%, more than half of seniors have taken this step according  ABC’s August 2013  News poll. If you’re not sure whether your parent has a living will, simply ask. It’s among the most important questions to ask an older loved one when verifying she or he has made satisfactory plans for potential long-term care and end-of-life care needs.

Older parents who don’t have a living will usually agree to create one when they are approached about it in a kind and sensitive manner. But some parents will resist for their various reasons. They may be hesitant to take suggestions from their children, afraid to consider mortality, or just generally ornery.

A great way to get your parent or other loved one to complete a living will is to complete yours first, or even complete a living will with your parent. You could say something like, “Mom, I’m making a living will now and I think you should too. It’s not because I think you won’t be around long. It’s just the right thing to do.” This approach shows parents we aren’t necessarily asking them to create a living because we’re worried about their health. And it could be seen as hypocritical to ask your parent to complete living will without being willing to take that same step yourself.

Set an Example: Make Your Own Living Will

Living Will & Durable Power of Attorney

Most Americans get the basics of living wills. We understand they are binding documents to specify our medical wishes if we can’t communicate because of illness or injury. We realize they address such questions as whether we want life extending treatment while terminally ill or in a permanent coma. More of us than ever see their importance: According to a recent poll, 42% of American adults have living wills, which is a vast improvement over the mere 17% of American adults who had living wills in 1991. But 42% is not good enough.

Now & later