Advance Directives, sometimes called living wills, are important to complete in order to document your wishes for medical treatments at the end of life. This can also be a good time for discussion and conversation with your loved ones about your wishes for what you want to happen after you die.
There are many excellent resources for completing your Advance Directives, either on your own or with assistance. Here are just a few:
Be aware that some states require that you use their state-specific forms to be considered legally binding. In fact, some states have legislation that states whether your advance directives will be honored and under what conditions. Be sure to check that the instrument you use is approved for your state, and that it is fully executed by witness or notary, whichever is required.
What is often missing in Advance Directives is information that informs the funeral period itself. Often people mistakenly believe that their healthcare proxy will have authority to make funeral arrangements. The fact is that DPOAH powers cease at death, and next-of-kin then becomes the legal authority with all the powers needed to determine funeral arrangements. To make sure you have the documentation necessary to guide those families members, the NHFA has developed a guide and workbook specifically for home funeral families. You can find it here:
The NHFA is a nonprofit 501c3 organization committed to supporting home funeral education. The NHFA does not offer certification opportunities. Membership in the NHFA and participation in its activities does not constitute endorsement of any kind.