Advance Directives / Living Will

Directing the Future of Your Health Needs

You have the right to make decisions about your own health care.  Decisions such as the right to accept or refuse medical treatment.  In the event that you are not able to express your wishes at the time of a crisis, you can plan in advance by making an "Advance Directive".  

Click here to download a Power of Attorney form.


What is an Advance Directive?

An advance directive explains, in writing, your choices about the treatments you do or do not want and how health care decisions will be made for you if you become unable to express your wishes.


Who is allowed to create an Advance Directive?

Individuals who are 18 or older and of sound mind.


How do I make an Advance Directive?

There are 3 ways to make a formal Advance Directive:

1.Living Will

2. Power of Attorney for health care

3. Legal document drafted by your attorney

 Forms can be obtained from Wisconsin Division of Public Health's website at

You do not need a lawyer to complete these forms; however, 2 people must witness your signature of the proper forms. The forms describe who may or may not be a witness. Please note that you may express your wishes using other forms as well.  You do not have to use these formal documents to make an advance directive.


Who can provide additional help?

Your doctor can help you understand your health needs and answer questions about advance directives. You can also contact your lawyer or the following agencies if you have questions about advance directives:

  • Wisconsin Division of Health  (608) 266-8475
  • Economic Justice Institute   (608) 262-9143
  • Wisconsin Board on Aging and Long Term Care (Ombudsman Program)  (920) 652-2000

The Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Health helped compile the information on these pages in cooperation with the agencies listed above and below:

  • Association of Wisconsin Health Maintenance Organizations
  • Catholic Health Association of Wisconsin
  • Hospice Organization of Wisconsin
  • State Medical Society
  • Wisconsin Association of County Homes
  • Wisconsin Association of Homes & Services for the Aging
  • Wisconsin Association of Medical Directors
  • Wisconsin Homecare Association
  • Wisconsin Hospital Association 

More information on Advance Directives can be found at or by contacting your health care provider.  

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