Advance Directive: A written statement of a person’s wishes regarding medical treatment, often including a living will, made to ensure those wishes are carried out should the person be unable to communicate them to doctor. The document identifies a healthcare agent(s) to carry out one’s wishes.


Living Will: A document that directs a caregiver concerning end-of-life decisions. A living will provides space for more in-depth discussion regarding end-of-life wishes; however, one specific person is not appointed to being in charge of making decisions. 


Agent (Healthcare Agent or Durable Power of Attorney): The person who is designated by a loved one, a friend, or a family member to make healthcare decisions, including end-of-life decisions, in the case that a person is unable to make his or her own decisions. 


Palliative Care: An approach that focuses on patient comfort and neither “hastens or postpones dying as a natural process.” Palliative care helps treat or prevent pain, as well as the symptoms and side effects of disease and treatment (for instance, emotional, social, and spiritual challenges sparked by a terminal or critical illness).

Hospice Care: A medical benefit provided by a healthcare team whose goal is to provide pain control and comfort measures. Hospice care is utilized when treatment for a cure is no longer an option.

Learn More About End-Of-Life Terms at The Conversation Project

Myth vs. Fact:


Myth: A lawyer needs to become involved for an advance directive to take effect.

Fact: While the document does need to be notarized, there is no requirement that a lawyer become involved.


Myth: Your parents become your legal decision makers if you are injured or unable to communicate your wishes.

Fact: If you are a legal adult, your parent or loved one cannot make healthcare decisions on your behalf unless you have officially designated that person to have the authority to make those decisions for you.  

Myth: Filling out an advance directive is an extensive, difficult process.

Fact: Completing an advance directive is a simple process, which can be completed at your own pace and convenience.


Myth: Once I fill out my advance directive, my wishes are set in stone.

Fact: An advance directive is a living, breathing document, which can and should be revisited from time to time. Should your wishes change, the document can be updated at any time.

Myth: It will be easy for family or friends to take care of my social media accounts after my death.

Fact: You need to create a digital estate plan and appoint and appoint a digital executor to handle your digital assets.