An advance directive is only as good as its availability when it is needed, and that may be difficult to predict. The internet has made storage and retrieval of advance directives much easier.
There are many places you can keep copies (or originals) of the documents, but there are a few important factors to consider when deciding where to store:
- They must be portable; they can be available wherever you are in the world.
- They must be available in a timely manner.
- They must be in a safe place, protected from theft, fire, flood, or other natural disasters.
Be sure your doctors have copies of your advance directives and give copies to everyone who might be involved with your healthcare, such as your family, clergy, or friends. Your local hospital might also be willing to file your advance directives in case you are admitted in the future. In fact, hospitals frequently ask for advance directive prior to admission, so bring yours with you.
If you have a PAPER original document
- Make many copies and give to the person(s) you have appointed to be your healthcare power of attorney, to your inner circle and to your physician. Take a copy to the hospital with you.
- Keep the original in a safe but easy to find place—let others know what it is. DO NOT put it in a safety deposit box.
- If you can scan your advance directive, there are several services that will store it and make it available on demand —wherever you are. Some are free to the user and others charge, so review the website carefully.
The services include:
If you have a DIGITAL or VIDEO advance directive
You may store it on your phone, your computer, and in the cloud. You can learn about services related to digital or video advance directives here on CaringInfo.