the importance of communicating your advance directives to family, friends, pastor, medical staff
I'm a social worker in a primary care clinic, and I've been a caregiver to my parents, my grandmother, and now my wife, who has MS. It had been a while since I helped someone complete their power of attorney for health care, and for finances. She asked me if she should put the completed document in a safe deposit box. I was reminded that the completed wishes of any patient should be shared with whomever is important to that patient. The system that makes the most sense to me is to make out little index cards that say "I have an advance directive that names ____ to make decisions on my behalf if i can't communicate on my own. My doctor, _____ has a copy, and so does this person. The phone number to my health care proxy is ____."
And then make copies for the person you've named, your spouse, your children, your most important doctor(s), your attorney if you have one, your minister if you have one, your best friend, the neighbor who feeds your cat when you travel, and might call the police for a 'welfare check' if they haven't seen you come out to the mail box in a while.
Put it in the safe deposit box if you want to. But not just there! Share!