How It Works

The U.S. Living Will Registry is a secure, on-line database where you can store your advance directive.  Your document can be easily accessed by you, or by health care providers anywhere.

  • You can register your advance directive and/or organ donor information by several different methods: 
    1.  You can register directly from this web site with
    Direct Registration.  You can purchase registration for yourself, or you can purchase a gift registration for someone else.
    2.  You can register through a participating health care provider, hospital or community partner of the Registry.  Some Providers and Partners provide the service free of charge to their patients, clients, employees and members.  Go to our
    Search page to see if there are any organizations in your area that offer free registration.

  • You complete a Registration Agreement that gives the Registry permission to send a copy of your document to any health care provider (hospitals, doctors, skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, home health agencies, providers of home health care, ambulatory surgery centers, and hospices).   The Registry agrees not to release your information to any party other than health care providers, so your personal information is kept private and confidential, just like a medical record.

  • The advance directive document is scanned and electronically stored in the Registry's computer along with your emergency contact information.  If you decide that you would rather not store a copy of your actual document on-line, but want it to be available when needed, you can complete and submit the Document Locator Form. This form lists the people and places where your advance directive document can be found if needed.  The Document Locator Form is scanned and stored exactly like an advance directive.  Health care providers who try to access your document from the Registry, will instead receive your locator form, and can then use the information on the form to obtain a copy of your advance directive.

  • Your registration is confirmed with a letter that contains labels to affix to your insurance card & driver's license, stating that your advance directive is registered, and a wallet card listing your Registration #.  An on-line account is also established, which you can use to access and  make changes to your personal information and download, fax or email your document as needed.

  • You are contacted annually to confirm that your wishes have not been changed or revoked, and to update personal and emergency contact information.  You are reminded to make changes to personal or emergency contact information using your on-line account.   You can also certify that your document is up to date and still reflects your wishes from your on-line account.   The date of confirmation is provided whenever the document is accessed.  In this way, there is no doubt as to whether the document still represents your wishes.  This annual update reminder is included with your registration.

  • Health Care Providers can contact the Registry 24 hours a day to gain access to advance directives, organ donor information and emergency contact information, or simply  to inquire as to whether any patient has an advance directive.  Member health care providers can use the on-line service to access documents from the Registry.  They can access your document by using your name and birth date, your registration number or your social security number if you provided it (providing your social security # is optional). 

  • Health care providers that are not members of the Registry can access documents via secure Internet site, by entering the Registration # from the wallet card.  If the wallet card is not available, they can obtain the document by phone.  The Provider simply contacts the Registry by phone, and provides information about their facility and about the person whose document they are trying to retrieve.  Registry personnel will perform a manual transmission of the document. 

  • You can also email or fax your document to the hospital from your personal handheld smart phone or laptop/tablet computer by accessing your on-line account.

You will have peace of mind knowing that your advance directive is safe, secure, and available to your family and doctors whenever and wherever it is needed. Because providers can simply contact the Registry to see if any patient has an advance directive, they can still retrieve your document, even if you don't have your card.

Some people feel uncomfortable giving their advance directive document to their health insurance company or to the federal government.  The U.S. Living Will Registry is an independent organization that simply stores your document securely and makes it available when needed...the Registry has nothing to do with paying for your health care, so there is no conflict of interest.

How to Prepare and Register an Advance Directive

If you already have an advance directive, follow the simple directions which follow for registering it.

If you do not have an advance directive, think about the kinds of medical treatment you wish to have, or not have, if you are incapacitated, and discuss them with your chosen decision-maker and your family. Next, formalize your wishes in an advance directive. For assistance in preparing your advance directive, visit your local hospital, ask an attorney, or visit the Advance Directive Forms or  Internet Resources pages on this site. Some of the organizations listed in the resources section provide state-specific advance directive forms which you can download or request by mail or telephone.

Make sure your choices and personal philosophy about medical treatments are clearly stated in your advance directive.

To Register Your Advance Directive

Visit the "How to Register" page for instructions on how to register your advance directive.

You will receive confirmation when your advance directive is processed.

To read comments from registrants and attorneys, visit the Testimonials page..

Born of Necessity...

U.S. Living Will Registry® was founded by Joseph T. Barmakian, M.D., a New Jersey Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon. Dr. Barmakian has witnessed the ordeal of patients' families as they confront the painful, guilt-ridden decisions of life support and medical treatment. He has also felt the frustration of doctors who don't have access to patients' wishes. It was in 1996 that Dr. Barmakian first recognized the need for a registry service that not only recorded patients' advance directives, but also made it easier for health care facilities to obtain the information. Dr. Barmakian felt it was critical to establish a system which provides medical personnel and patient's families with advance directives whenever and wherever they are needed while maintaining the patient's privacy and confidentiality. U.S. Living Will Registry® fulfills these criteria, providing easy, 24-hour access to patients' wishes.



U.S. Living Will Registry ® - Living Will and Advance Directive Registry
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