Preparing an advance directive - a living will, a durable power of attorney for health care decisions, or a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order - is only part of the process in protecting end-of-life decisions.
Inform your family of your end-of-life wishes
"Advising your family or another designated person about the completion of the documents and where they are stored is equally important," said Kerri Parsons, Kansas State University Research and Extension specialist on aging.
She offered these tips:
Consider asking the attorney who prepared the documents to keep the originals on file. Provide the attorney's name and contact information to responsible parties.
Provide a copy to your health care provider and another to a designated representative.
If storing your personal copy of the documents in a safety deposit box, provide an extra key to your designated representative and ask that person also to sign the signature card, thus allowing him or her access to the box and the documents.
"There is an advantage to having copies of the documents in more than one place," Parsons said. "Documents may, for example, be needed during non-business hours."