Advance Care Planning Resources

There are many forms and resources available online. Here we provide documents for download and hyperlinks to resources commonly used in the Washington DC region and Commonwealth of Virginia.


There are several versions of a Virginia Medical Advance Directive available for free to download in many languages. Here are two short forms: Virginia-Advance-Directive-for-Health-Care and an editable pdf version. Also, INOVA has many versions available, as does the Virginia State Bar. These and other Virginia forms are valid in most states. In Virginia, forms must be signed in front of two witnesses over the age of 18. Many states require that witnesses be different from the agents named on the form, but Virginia does not. Many states require that witnesses have no financial interest in your estate, but Virginia does not.

Five Wishes

Five Wishes is a an easy-to-use legal document written in everyday language that is accepted in almost all states and the District of Columbia. It is created by Aging with Dignity, a national non-profit organization with a mission to affirm and safeguard the human dignity of individuals as they age and to promote better care for those near the end of life. It costs $5 to purchase this document, which is available in dozens of languages. CIAC has purchased a limited number for participants in our workshops.

The Virginia Health Care Directive Registry

Virginia created a free online advance directive registry at Connect Virginia that allows Virginia residents to securely store important healthcare documents, such as Advance Health Care Directives, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Declarations of Anatomical Gift (organ donation), and other documents so that family members, medical providers, emergency personnel, or other persons you designate will know how to honor your wishes. The information in the Virginia Registry is safe and confidential. Only health care providers, you, and persons you designate will have access to your documents.

The Conversation Project (TCP)

The Conversation Project provides educational materials for free download on their website, including brochures, videos, and the Conversation Workshop Starter Kit.


AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that helps people 50 and older improve the quality of their lives. Their website offers numerous references and articles about caregiving and end-of-life.

American Bar Association

The ABA Commission on Law and Aging is a collaborative and interdisciplinary leader of the Association’s work to strengthen and secure the legal rights, dignity, autonomy, quality of life, and quality of care of aging persons. They have many research and resources available for the public. One of the documents available for download is Making Medical Decisions for Someone Else.