It can be hard to know how to plan for your future when you’re young and healthy, but if you don’t think about it now, it will only get more challenging as time goes on. A living will and power of attorney for health care are essential documents that allow you to dictate what should happen if you cannot make decisions yourself.
Read this post and learn more about these two legal tools so that you can decide which one is right for your needs.
What Is the Difference Between Power of Attorney and Living will?
A living will is a document that sets out your wishes for healthcare if you can no longer make decisions. A power of attorney for health care is a document that names someone you trust to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so. The two documents are not mutually exclusive – you can have both a living will and a power of attorney for health care.
How Does a Living Will Function?
A living will is different from a power of attorney for health care. A living will state your wishes regarding life-prolonging measures if you become incapacitated and unable to make decisions regarding your health care (for example, if you are in a coma). However, it cannot appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. Only power of attorney for health care can do that.
What is Healthcare Power of Attorney?
Healthcare power of attorney is a legal document where you name someone to make healthcare decisions if you cannot make them yourself. This person is called your healthcare agent.
Can You Have Both Powers of Attorney and Living Will?
Yes, you can have both a power of attorney and a living will. However, they serve different purposes.
What If You Haven’t acquired a Living Will?
Not acquiring a living will will put a lot of emotional torture on your loved ones in charge of your health care decisions. As we all know, everyone’s life is unpredictable. You may never know when an accident or illness will occur, preventing you from making your own health care decisions. In the absence of a living will, your loved ones will have to make difficult decisions on your behalf based on their interpretation of your wishes, which may not be in line with what you would have wanted.
It would be best to get a living will to avoid this from happening. A living will enable you to state your wishes regarding your health care if you cannot speak for yourself. It gives your loved one’s certainty and guidance in knowing what you would have wanted to be done in a difficult situation.
Is a Power of Attorney More Significant Than a Living Will?
No, power of attorney doesn’t supersede a living will. They are two different documents with different purposes.
You may download a power of attorney form sample or template from our website here.