Differences Between a Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will (Advanced Directive)

When considering major decisions in your life, one important decision to make is how your healthcare should be handled. There are documents to dictate how your life should be carried out should you become incapable of speaking for yourself. The two main documents to do so are the Living Will (also called an Advanced Directive) and Healthcare Power of Attorney. The two may appear to be quite similar, yet one gives you the right to decide certain end of life measures beforehand, while the other is used to appoint a healthcare provider to speak on your behalf.

A Living Will is the statement written beforehand providing details on the type of care you would like to have, or care you wish not to have, for life prolonging treatments should you become debilitated. The Living Will gives you the power to make decisions on procedures such as blood transfusions, CPR/DNR orders, artificial administration of food and water, as well as palliative care (also known as “comfort care” if you wish to let death naturally occur).

The Healthcare Power of Attorney is the document needed to authorize a trusted person to make necessary decisions on your behalf only if you are unable to do so for yourself. The authorized person makes sure your Living Will is carried out and may make certain necessary decisions for you beyond those covered within the Living Will. The Healthcare Power of Attorney applies to broader situations than just end of life care. If you have a minor procedure and are unable to speak for yourself, or if you are temporarily unconscious or not lucid, then having this document in place will allow someone you appoint to make decisions for you in the interim until you can once again make them yourself. This document is helpful to have in place in order to prevent arguments and expensive legal battles between close family members (children who may disagree, for instance).

At the Carroll Law Firm we provide assistance in drafting both of these documents in a friendly and welcoming environment. These documents are provided to establish comfort and security for yourself should a life ending situation come about or should you feel you are at the age to secure a comfortable. We provide free consultations for all estate planning documents, so come in today to plan for the future.

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