Posted by: Woodfork Law | July 16, 2013

Living Will v. Health care Power of Attorny

Most estate plans contain both a “Living Will” and a “Health care Power of Attorney.”  Although similar, these documents are two very different documents.  A Living Will instructs medical personnel and others as to what you want to happen to you if you are in a permanent vegetative state or have a terminal illness.  For example, with a Living Will, you can provide instructions as to whether you want or don’t want a life sustaining feeding tube, or other forms of support.  The Living Will is for end of life decisions.

On the other hand, a Health care Power of Attorney instructs a person whom you designate to make medical decisions for you if you can’t.  Your appointed person makes medical decisions for you that are not at the end of life, but when you are otherwise incapacitated.  For example, a health care power of attorney can give the person you choose the power to select a care home for you, choose your doctors, get second opinions, etc.

Practically speaking, a Health care Power of Attorney is probably more important because, as we live longer, there is more of a chance that you could end up unable to care for yourself, recognize your family and friends, communicate with others, and many other things.  Therefore, a Health care Power of Attorney could be beneficial in a wide variety of situations.


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