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Advance directives enable patients to specify which medical treatment they do and do not want to receive ahead of time if they cannot make such a determination, including the refusal or ending of life support when the time to act on such a decision arises. There are two types of advance directives: (1) living wills where a patient lists their treatment preferences and (2) creating a health care power of attorney which vests the decision-making authority in a proxy. Since the creation of advance directives in 1976, all fifty states have adopted their own laws on advance directives.

This post was originally published on the Cardozo International & Comparative Law Review on March 28, 2022. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.

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