Your living will can be the key to your health, even your life, but surprisingly, the best place to keep it is not under lock and key.
Think Plural, Not Singular
There is no one safe place for your living will; there are many! We suggest storing a copy of your advance directives:
- With your doctor. Your advance directives should be given to your doctor to be placed with your medical records.
- In your hospital file. If you are at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital or some other medical facility for a scheduled surgery or procedure, be sure to bring a copy of your living will and power of attorney with you and ask to have it placed in your file. This will protect you in case things don't go as planned during your stay.
- With your health care agent or attorney. The person who drew up your documents should have a copy available for your family. This is often the original copy.
- At your home. While it's fine to keep a copy in your lock box, put another copy in an accessible area of your home. Ensure that you tell several trusted family members or friends where the copy is so that they can retrieve it if necessary.
- In your purse or wallet. There is no way to store all of these documents on your person, but you can and should keep a card with information about where your directives can be found in your purse or wallet. And like the copy in your home, make sure that the card is easy to find and identify.
If you don't have a living will, it's time to get going. Without one, you leave your health up to medical professionals who don't know you and who may make choices that strip you of your dignity. Contact our office today to create a living will—a promise that your wishes will be obeyed.