When doing your estate planning, you likely want to consider both a living will and a power of attorney. Both can control decisions about your medical care in the future and give your family the guidance they need. A big part of estate planning, along with accounting for your assets, is creating a healthcare plan that fits your needs.
But what are the differences? Do you need both? Let’s take a look.
A power of attorney
With a power of attorney, you turn control over to someone else. If you can’t make medical decisions, they get to do so on your behalf. They may be called your agent. The doctors, who will often only want to listen to the patient, can listen to your agent and it is still as if you made those decisions. You need to pick someone you trust and someone who understands your desires.
A living will
With a living will, you can write down the types of care that you want. For instance, maybe you never want the doctors to use life support; if it gets to that point, you don’t want to be hooked to a machine. Or, maybe you have a desired quality of life. You don’t want them to keep you alive in all situations, but you do if that quality of life can be sustained. These are just a few examples of the treatment options you can list out.
Now, you may want both so that you can spell out many of your decisions and then pick an agent to make decisions about things you didn’t predict. Make sure you know how to get started.