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Advance Directives - Definition
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Advance Directives

"Advance Directive” is a general term that describes two types of legal documents – living wills and health care powers of attorney.  These documents allow a person to give instructions about future medical care should he or she be unable to participate in health care decisions due to serious illness or incapacity.  Each state regulates the use of advance directives differently.

Living Will

A living will is a written statement that describes the type of care a person wishes to receive in the event he or she is suffering from a terminal illness or is in a persistent vegetative state.  

Power of Attorney for Health Care

A power of attorney for health care is a document through which one person (the principal) authorizes another person (the agent) to make health care decisions on his or her behalf.

Definitions provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Unit on Aging, "Surrogate Decision Making in Nebraska."