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Getting Your Affairs in Order: Advance Care Planning

Are your affairs in order? Use this checklist to make legal and financial plans now for your health care in the future.

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Getting Your Affairs In Order: Advance Care Planning infographic. Open pdf for full description

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Read a transcript of the infographic

Making health care decisions for yourself or someone who is no longer able to do so can be overwhelming. That's why it's important to get a clear idea about preferences and arrangements while you can make decisions and participate in legal and financial planning together.

Use this checklist to ensure health care and financial arrangements are in place before serious illness or a health care crisis.

  • Start discussions early with your loved one while everyone can still help make decisions.
  • Create documents that communicate health care, financial management, and end of life wishes for yourself and the people you care for, with legal advice as needed.
  • Review plans regularly, and update documents as circumstances change.
  • Put important papers in one place. Make sure a trusted family member or friend knows the location and any instructions.
  • Make copies of health care directives to be placed in all medical files, including information on every doctor seen.
  • Give permission in advance for a doctor or lawyer to talk directly with a caregiver as needed.
  • Reduce anxiety about funeral and burial arrangements by planning ahead.

Learn more about advance care planning.

An official website of the National Institutes of Health