Advance Directives for Cryonics Institute Members
Advance Directives usually describe documents executed in advance of a patient's incpacitating illness. DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) is one form of Advance Directive, but it typically expresses the signer's desire not to be resuscitated under certain circumstances. An Anatomical Donation and a Certificate of Religious Belief against autopsy are also forms of Advance Directives, although these are instructions directing post-mortem actions. The latter is especially valuable in states that will only stop an autopsy on religious grounds. (See e.g.: www.venturist.info)
Most commonly, "Advance Directive" refers to a Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (or called Health Care Surrogate Designation in Florida, for example). A Living Will is a Will that gives directions in advance of incapacitation. A Durable Power of Attorney is a Power of Attorney that remains in effect (is "durable") after a person has become incapacitated.
State laws vary, and therefore the proper form can vary by state. While forms can be found by state on the internet, for the most reliable advice you should contact your attorney.
The US federal Patient Self-Determination Act requires health care facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funds to inform patients of their rights to execute Advance Directives. You may be able to use an Advance Directive to clearly stress your desire to be cryopreserved and to seek favorable conditions for your cryopreservation at the time of your legal death. You can include contact information to the Cryonics Institute (with your Member ID number). As long as you are conscious and can communicate, you can make your wishes known, but when you are still living but cannot communicate, the Advanced Directive provides important direction to your health care provider.
You should discuss your Advance Directives with your physician, lawyer and relatives to be clear that they can see your desires in writing and understand them. Copies should be in your file at the Cryonics Institute. In some states these documents expire after seven years, so they may require reaffirmation.
A major problem with Advance Directives is that they are not always readily available when needed. That problem has now been addressed by the US Living Will Registry, a privately-held organization that claims to electronically store Advance Directives for 24/7 access on the internet. To maintain privacy, the Registry is only available to health care providers, such as hospitals and physicians. The service is available without cost, but to use it you must register. Once registered you are given a Registry number and labels with the Registration number that can be attached to your driver's license and insurance card.
Read the information on their FAQ page:
and then go to the How to Register page:
Reference to the member's desire for cryopreservation in the member's will may also be desirable.