We know, we know. You’re busy living life. You don’t have time to research every form you should be filling out to protect yourself in case of a health crisis. No worries! We’ve done the research for you, because we’re cool like that. Take a few teeny minutes to read below, and click on, say, one link per weekend and just fill out one form at a time. You may not even need them all, but do take a look at which are most important to you. Then print and store copies with your Farewelling File, and share the whole darn thing with your loved ones. It feels so good to be organized, doesn’t it?
1. Advance Healthcare Directive (Living Will)
- What it is: An advance directive or living will is a form that states how you want to be taken care of in the event you are not able to speak for yourself. Here you can express whether or not you want extreme measures used to keep you alive (and even which measures), once it has been deemed that you are either terminally ill or permanently unconscious. Note: This form varies by state, so be sure you fill out the correct one.
- Why you should fill it out: You should remain in control of your healthcare even if you lack the ability to physically communicate your wishes. Not only is it better for you to have what you want, but also, by filling out a living will, you are sparing your family or friends from making difficult decisions.
- Find it here: Downloading Your State’s Advance Directive
2. Durable Power of Attorney (POA)
- What it is: This form, a power of attorney for healthcare names someone else as your healthcare proxy (representative) to make all your healthcare and medical decisions, should a time come when you are unable to do so yourself. It lets your proxy speak to your caregivers on your behalf, following the directions from your living will. If a situation occurs where the directions are not known, your proxy will make a decision based on what s/he thinks you want. Hint: Choose someone smart and strong. Choose a badass who isn’t afraid to tell a doctor “no.” If you need help choosing one, we have an article on how to choose a healthcare proxy.
- Why you should fill it out: Not to sound scary, because we don’t like that angle, but seriously, if you don’t fill it out, people who do not know you will have your life in their hands. And they will decide what happens, whether you like it or not.
- Find it here: Power of Attorney
3. POLST/MOLST/COLST (Physicians/Medical/Clinicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment)
- What it is: It’s a fairly new concept and it’s not available everywhere yet, but check to see if your state offers it, because it’s good! This bright lime green document represents your wishes and tells healthcare professionals which treatments you do or do not want performed on you.
- Why you should fill it out: Those who are dealing with a serious health crisis or who are elderly like this form and often hang it in a visible spot, like on the inside of their front door or on their fridge door. The idea here is that if, say, an ambulance is called to your home, the emergency staff will see this document and follow your wishes from the beginning of your treatment. It’s similar to an Advance Care Directive, so if you have that, you may not need this too. Take a look and decide.
- Find it here: Programs in your state
4. Five Wishes
- What it is: Another type of Advance Directive that is written in plainer language. It’s unique in the sense that it addresses all your needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual. It also helps to guide conversations with your family and caregivers.
- Why you should fill it out: By conveying your wishes, you’re very simply making your loved ones’ lives easier. No wondering, no fighting, no uncomfortable future Thanksgivings at Uncle Gene’s house. Just clear, concise wishes. It’s great for control freaks like us!
- Find it here: Five wishes
5. Organ Donation
- What it is: Registering enables you to donate parts (or all) of your body when you are no longer able to use it. Most states allow you to choose which parts you would like to donate, and of course, you can update it at any time.
- Why you should fill it out: When the time comes when you no longer need your body, why not give some parts of it to others who are in need? You will literally be giving someone the gift of life. Also, you have beautiful eyes and a heart of gold. Don’t be stingy!
- Find it here: Organ Donor
For more help with planning your future farewelling, click here to see the Farewelling Checklist and download your own Farewelling Worksheet.