When you are working on your estate plan, you may want to think about creating advanced directives as well as a will. A traditional will allows you to determine how your property will go to your heirs. An advance directive usually focuses more on communicating your wishes about health care and end-of-life issues. In Ohio, the two main types of advance directives you may create are a living will and a health care power of attorney. With an advance directive, you may ensure that your medical providers and family members follow your wishes for your care even if an injury or illness prevents you from communicating those wishes.

The Cleveland Clinic provides information on advance directives as well as links to official Ohio advanced directive forms that you may fill out and sign. The clinic recommends that you create an advance directive as soon as you are 18 years old. Having an official form in your electronic medical records may make it easier for doctors to follow your wishes if you get in an accident or become ill. Creating advance directives may also give you the opportunity to discuss your health care preferences with your family members.

A health care power of attorney allows you to name an agent who may legally make medical decisions for you if you are unable to. You may use the power of attorney form to declare which decisions your agent may make on your behalf. For example, you may allow your agent to decide if you receive pain-relief drugs or surgical treatments. A living will allows you to consent to or reject life-sustaining treatment, such as artificial hydration, if you are in a terminal condition.

This information on advance directives is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.