Advanced Directives are a small part of an overall estate plan.  They are the basic documents that everyone needs in place in case of emergency.  Advanced Directives include a General Durable Power of Attorney, a Healthcare Power of Attorney, a HIPAA Authorization, and a Living Will.
General Durable Power of Attorney: You designate an attorney-in-fact to perform legal and financial duties if you are unable to perform them.
Healthcare Power of Attorney: Appointing a Healthcare Representative allows you to authorize the representative to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.
HIPAA Authorization: This document allows individuals access to your protected health information, but they can’t make decisions on your behalf.  They can call your healthcare providers and get information on your condition and medication and they can also pick up medications, medical devises, and written medical information on your behalf.
Living Will: This document conveys your wishes regarding medical care and life-prolonging procedures in the event of a terminal illness or a persistent vegetative state.