Five Wishes

My Wish For:

  • The Person I Want To Make Care Decisions For Me When I Can't

  • The Kind of Medical Treatment I Want or Don't Want

  • How Comfortable I Want to Be

  • How I Want People to Treat Me

  • What I Want My Loved Ones to Know

What Is Five Wishes?

Five Wishes is the first living will that talks about your personal, emotional and spiritual needs as well as your medical wishes. It lets you choose the person you want to make health care decisions for you if you are not able to make them for yourself. Five Wishes lets you say exactly how you wish to be treated if you get seriously ill. It was written with the help of The American Bar Association's Commission on the Legal Problems of the Elderly, and the nation's leading experts in the end-of- life care. It's also easy to use. All you have to do is check a box, circle a direction, or write a few sentences.

How Five Wishes Can Help You And Your Family

  • It lets you talk to your family, friends and doctor about how you want to be treated if you become seriously ill.

  • Your family members will not have to guess what you want. It protects them if you become seriously ill, because they won't have to make hard choices with knowing your wishes.

  • You can know what your mom, dad, spouse, or friend wants through a Five Wishes living will. You can be there for them when they need you most. You will understand what they really want.

How Five Wishes Began

For 12 years, a man named Jim Towey worked closely with Mother Teresa, and, for one year, he lived in an hospice she ran in Washington. D.C. Inspired by this first-hand experience, Mr.Towey sought a way for patients and their families to plan ahead and t cope with serious illness. The result is Five Wishes and the response to it has been overwhelming. It has been featured on CNN and NBC's Today Show and in the pages of Time and Money magazines. Newspapers have called Five Wishes the first "living will with a heart."

Who Should Use Five Wishes

Five Wishes is for anyone 18 or older - married, single, parents, adult children, and friends. Over three million Americans of all ages have already used it. Because it works so well, lawyers, doctors, hospitals and hospices, faith communities, employers, and retiree groups are handing out this document.

Five Wishes States

If you live in the District of Columbia or one of the 36 states listed below, you can use Five Wishes and have the peace of mind to know that is substantially meets your state's requirements under the law:

Alaska

Hawaii

Minnesota

North Dakota

Arizona

Idaho

Mississippi

Pennsylvania

Arkansas

Illinois

Missouri

Rhode Island

California

Iowa

Montana

South Dakota

Colorado

Louisiana

Nebraska

Tennessee

Connecticut

Maine

New Jersey

Virginia

Delaware

Maryland

New Mexico

Washington

Florida

Massachusetts

New York

West Virginia

Georgia

Michigan

North Carolina

Wyoming


If your state is not one of the 36 states listed here, Five Wishes does not meet the technical requirements in the statutes of your state. So some doctors in your state may be reluctant to honor Five Wishes. However, many people from states not on this list do complete Five Wishes along with their state's legal form. They find that Five Wishes helps them express all that they want and provides a helpful guide to family members, friends, care givers and doctors. Most doctors and health care professionals know they need to listen to your wishes no matter how you express them.

How Do I Change To Five Wishes?

You may already have a living will or a durable power of attorney for health care. If you want to use Five Wishes instead, all you need to do is fill out and sign a Five Wishes as directed. As soon as you sign it, it takes away any advance directive you had before. To make sure the right form is used, please do the following:

  • Destroy all copies of our old living will or durable power of attorney for health care. Or you can write "revoked" in large letters across the copy you have. Tell your lawyer if he or she helped prepare those old forms for you.  

  • Tell your Health Care Agent, family members, and doctor that you have filled out the new Five Wishes. Make sure they know about your new wishes.