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August 01, 2018 Spotlight

The ABA's Reference of State-Specific Advance Planning Forms

By Gabriel Estridge, Intern and J.D. Candidate and Charlie Sabatino, Director, ABA Commission on Law & Aging

The Commission on Law and Aging provides a reference for those interested in creating advance directives for themselves, clients, or their loved ones.

The State-Specific Advance Planning Form Chart connects practitioners and members of the public with advance directives compliant with state law created by bar associations, legal aid services, and hospital associations — unlike other institutions that publish their own forms, COLA has sourced dozens of local authorities familiar with both state law and serving local clients and patients.

Because of the wide range of institutions hosting PDFs of any number of advance directive forms, a single web-search will confront the viewer with dozens of potential forms. Because of the nature of the Web, institutions — those large, small, and defunct — sometimes continue to host versions of advance directives older than the last revision to a state’s statutory form, and risk falling out of compliance with state law. The Chart provides one or more links for each state to reliable in-state advance directives.

Another option for individuals seeking to do their own advance directive is to use one of the multi-state forms published by a handful of groups, but it is important to read their material to see in which states they will work. Examples include:

PREPARE for Your Care. This free web site is designed to help people and their loved ones prepare for medical decision making by guiding the user through five easily understandable steps of preparation for decision-making with the help of multiple video aids. The result is a printable action plan and an easy-to-read advance directive customized for all US states, and available in in English and Spanish. Available at:

Five Wishes. Published by Aging with Dignity. This nationally used, popular advance directive and guide is usable in most states and lets your family and doctors know:

  • Who you want to make health care decisions for you when you can’t make them.
  • The kind of medical treatment you want or don’t want.
  • How comfortable you want to be.
  • How you want people to treat you.
  • What you want your loved ones to know.

Available in 30 languages for purchase and download at: .

Giving Someone a Power of Attorney for Your Health Care: A Guide with an Easy-to-Use, Multi-State Form for All AdultsPrepared by the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, this simple health care power of attorney guide and form is usable in most states and is available in English and Spanish.