If you want to save your family from making important but difficult decisions about your end-of-life wishes, I recommend that you get a 'health care durable power of attorney' in place (also called a 'medical directive' or 'advance directive' in some states.)

An advance directive is a legal document in which you state your wishes about certain kinds of medical treatments and life-prolonging procedures you wish to receive. The document takes effect if you can't communicate your own health care decisions.

Obtaining the appropriate advance directive form is easy. Visit the Partnership for Caring website to download the form free of charge for your state.

The document must be signed by you in the presence of two or more witnesses, none of whom should be a health care provider or a person who would stand to receive a share of your property in the event of your death, such as your spouse, a child, or someone you named as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy.

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Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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