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I live in California, so most of these links are for California resources.  Keep in mind that the law differs in each state.  Some states use documents called “living wills” to capture end of life care instructions.  Some states have very rigid rules about Advance Directives.

California has gorgeous, generous language about what can be in your Advance Directive, and what it can look like.  To read the details, check out the California Probate Code.

More Explanations of Advance Health Care Directives

  • The Office of the California Attorney General has an Advance Health Care Directive checklist.
  • Family Caregiver Alliance offers an explanation of what Advance Health Care Directives are, and how they work.

Free Forms

  • The California Attorney General has a free form you can print and fill out, as well as this fillable PDF form.
  • Print and fill out this simple wallet card from the American Hospital Association.
  • There is a statutory form in the California Probate Code.
  • The California Hospital Association has free forms in English and Spanish.
  • The Coalition for Compassionate Care has a free form in Chinese.  It also has a workbook in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Korean, called Thinking Ahead:  My Life at the End.  It’s not an Advance Directive, but it’s still super helpful for figuring out what to put in your AHCD.  And it’s really easy to understand — also with illustrations!  (We love illustrations!)
  • The Institute for Healthcare Advancement has an easy-to-understand form (with illustrations! we love illustrations) in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese.
  • Also, many hospitals have their own forms.

Additional Resources

  • The California Medical Association has an Advance Directive Kit for $5, in English and Spanish.
  • Aging with Dignity produces the popular Five Wishes form, in English and Spanish.
  • NOLO Press has books, articles, and software about Advance Directives, Living Wills, and regular wills and trusts.

For the Law-Minded Folks

  • California Probate Code — check out Section 4700 for the statutory form for Advance Health Care Directives.
  • Sacramento County Law Library has a great list of legal resources about Advance Directives, Living Wills, and Durable Powers of Attorney.

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