Living Will vs. Power Of Attorney

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Living Will vs. Power Of Attorney

Living wills and powers of attorney are two of the many ways to ensure your medical and end-of-life care choices are understood. With the comparison of a living will vs. power of attorney, you may wonder about the differences between a living will and a power of attorney and how to determine which is best for you.

As part of end-of-life planning, you should arrange your financial affairs properly. This can happen with the help of a financial advisor.

 

Precisely What Is A Living Will?

Living wills, also called advance directives, are legal documents that specify a person’s medical care preferences should they be unable to make these decisions themselves.

Individuals with terminal illnesses, vegetative states, or inability to communicate generally use this document. Living wills can provide healthcare professionals with instructions about the type of medical treatment an individual wishes or does not wish to receive. They include life support, resuscitation, and pain management.

 

Living Wills: Why they’re Important

There are several benefits of drafting a living will and how it can benefit you and those around you at the end of your life. These benefits include:

A Living Will clearly outlines your medical preferences and decisions so your loved ones can make informed decisions. It also eliminates any misunderstandings or guesswork that could arise after death.

Additionally, by defining the decisions beforehand, you and your loved ones can benefit from peace of mind.

A Living will help doctors determine whether you should receive life-sustaining treatment like:

  • A ventilator,
  • An intravenous feeding tube,
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation,
  • Or antibiotics in case of severe illness,
  • Accidents,
  • Or surgery.

It is also possible to arrange funds in advance for your medical care. This way, your loved ones won’t have to bear the financial burden of your illness.

 

Living Trust

As a legal document, a living trust oversees an individual’s assets if incapacitated. Living wills and living trusts are different because they deal with different issues. Similarly to a living will, a living trust describes the management of the individual’s assets when the individual becomes incapacitated.

The trust takes over the individual’s assets when the individual becomes incapacitated. Individuals create a living trust to manage their assets and appoint trustees. Moreover, living trusts terminate upon death.

 

Living Will Legal Requirements

When creating a living will, an individual must be in good health and be able to understand the choices they are making.

As well as being in writing with the signatures of the witnesses and the individual. The document must not be related to the individual or mention the individual as a beneficiary.

 

Living Wills Covered by Examples

In addition to healthcare decisions, living wills can address the following:

  • Life Support. Life-sustaining treatments may include mechanical ventilation, feeding tubes, and other methods.
  • Resuscitation. In cardiac arrest, a living will describe an individual’s preferences for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
  • Pain Management. Medication or alternative treatments are up to the individual regarding pain management.

 

Power of Attorney: What Is It?

Medical decisions, financial transactions, and legal actions can all go through a power of attorney. This includes decisions regarding medical treatment, financial transactions, and legal actions.

 

Powers of Attorney Types

You can obtain a power of attorney in the following ways:

 

The General Power of Attorney

General powers of attorney grant the agent broad powers, such as financial and real estate decisions. Most importantly, they end when the principal becomes incapacitated.

 

The Durable Power of Attorney

The durable power of attorney is necessary when the principal is incapacitated, as opposed to a general power of attorney.

 

Power of Attorney for Medical Care

A medical power of attorney authorizes someone to act on behalf of the principal in case the latter is incapable of doing so. In addition, the agent can make decisions relating to medications and procedures such as tube feedings and hydration. In addition, the agent can make arrangements for future assisted living, nursing homes, and rehabilitation.

 

Power of Attorney for Financial Matters

Financial powers of attorney are documents that grant an agent the authority to act on behalf of the principal by handling financial transactions, adding or removing beneficiaries, signing checks, collecting and settling debts, paying bills, and filing taxes on behalf of the principal.

 

An Overview of Powers Of Attorney

The document includes financial and medical power attorneys, giving you and your loved ones peace of mind. Hence, a durable power of attorney can help you plan your future.

 

An Overview of Powers Of Attorney

 

Moreover, POA allows you to protect your assets from third parties since you authorize the agent to manage bank transactions and real estate, make payments, and collect debt.

 

Power of Attorney Legal Requirements

Individuals must be of sound mind and clearly understand their decisions to create a power of attorney. The individual and a notary public must also sign the document. When creating a power of attorney, it is essential to consult an attorney about witnesses as they vary by state.

 

An Example of a Power Of Attorney Covering a Decision

In a power of attorney, you can make decisions such as:

  • Healthcare Decisions. Treatment, life support, and end-of-life care decisions can all fall under this category.
  • Financial Decisions. Managing finances, paying bills, and investing can be part of this process.
  • Legal Decisions. A legal decision, for example, signing a contract or making a legal agreement, can be a part of it.

 

A Living Will Vs. A Durable Healthcare Power Of Attorney.

What is the difference between living will and durable power of attorney/Durable power of attorney vs living will. In most cases, estate plans begin with a will. However, there are other legal documents that you should put in place to ensure your wishes come true. These are living wills and durable healthcare power of attorney.

It is essential to understand some crucial distinctions before creating either of these documents, even though both concern medical decisions.

 

Compatibility

The documents must be signed by someone of sound mind and at least 18 years old. Not anyone forces you to sign a living will or healthcare power of attorney.

 

The living will vs durable power of attorney: The differences

A living will is limited to the deathbed, and it applies when there is no hope of recovery, such as brain death or terminal illness, when you do not want life-prolonging measures to continue.

Alternatively, a durable power of attorney for healthcare only lasts as long as you cannot make decisions for yourself regarding healthcare. If you want your agent to act regarding deathbed matters, you can put specific provisions in your Power of Attorney.

 

Is It Possible To Have A Living Will And A Healthcare Power Of Attorney?

Generally, a living will does not address critical medical concerns such as “do not resuscitate” or “do not resuscitate.” Those concerns can be directly expressed in a healthcare power of attorney by some people who prefer to avoid dialysis or blood transfusions.

 

What Is The Best Agent To Represent You Regarding Your Healthcare Power Of Attorney?

Trust your agent with your best interests at heart. Your agent must act on your behalf and follow your wishes. In certain situations, you may need to tell your agent verbally what you want to do. If you tell them this directly, your agent will not be surprised if they have to decide on your behalf.

You might want to consider creating a living will and power of attorney as part of your estate plan, as being as comprehensive as possible is often recommended. We can provide more information if you visit our power of attorney center or estate planning page. We can also provide you with legal advice if you have questions.

 

What Is The Best One For Me?

Since anyone could become ill or become mentally incapacitated and unable to make their own decisions, you should include a living will and durable power of attorney in your estate plan.

Implementing advanced medical directives and power of attorney can comfort your family and loved ones during challenging times. They know your wishes and desires will be important when making decisions. A person’s family could end up in a court battle if they have not done any planning in extreme circumstances.

Planning can save you time, money, and unnecessary disputes. It is essential to create a POA and designate someone to act on your behalf if you have no strong preferences for the kind of care you want to receive.

It is relatively easy to create a living will and power of attorney, and it is inexpensive to do so, depending on where you obtain them. An estate lawyer or elder law attorney can create one for you for a fee, or you can find a free form online. A living will or power of attorney can be added at a meager cost to your estate plan if you get an online will.

 

Do Living Wills And Powers Of Attorney Have The Same Meaning?

Many people confuse these two concepts. Both provide reassurance and clarity, but they accomplish this differently.

The number of people living longer raises questions about how we will manage when we, or our relatives, can no longer care for ourselves. Every year, California alone diagnoses around 20,000 new cases of dementia.

When someone becomes seriously ill, living wills and powers of attorney can be helpful to their families, but understanding their differences is imperative.

 

Do Powers Of Attorney override Living Wills?

Can a power of attorney override a living will? Power of attorney vs will: Indeed, a power of attorney cannot override a living will unless the principal expressly gives the agent authority to override the Will. Thus, the agent must always act in the principal’s best interest.

 

Benefits of advance health care directives

It is possible to use a living will and a power of attorney together as an advanced directive for health care. No matter whether you use one or both, you get similar benefits.

You do not have to go to court, where a judge who does not know you would decide your care. It will give you peace of mind and give your family and medical providers peace of mind that they are following your wishes.

When creating your health care directive, the best way to get these benefits is to consult an estate planning attorney, especially someone with experience with elder law. As a result, you will receive a directive explicitly tailored to your needs and with a more precise, detailed specification.

 

Power of Attorney vs. Living Will FAQs

 

A living will is different from a power of attorney; how does it differ?

A living will specify healthcare preferences in the case of incapacitation, while powers of attorney appoint a representative to act on a person’s behalf when the person cannot.

 

Is it possible to create both a power of attorney and a living will?

An individual can create both legal documents to ensure that their medical and financial plans follow according to their wishes.

 

What types of decisions can powers of attorney cover?

Depending on the type of power of attorney established, medical treatment, financial transactions, and legal matters.

 

Do power of attorney vs living will have any legal requirements?

An individual must be of sound mind and capable of understanding their decisions when creating either legal document. In addition, the documents must be written and signed by the individual, witnesses, or notary public, depending on state law.

 

Is it better to have a living will or a power of attorney?

There are several factors to consider when making this decision about a living will vs power of attorney, including your age, health status, financial situation, and personal preferences. Creating a living will, power of attorney, or both ultimately depends on your unique needs and circumstances.

In addition to providing valuable guidance in making this decision, an attorney or healthcare professional can also make sure the legal documents customize to meet an individual’s unique needs.

 

The Takeaway

Your loved ones can benefit from a power of attorney and a living will by handling difficult decisions before they need to make them. Planning for your end of life is an emotional and personal process. A living will can’t predict every scenario, so a power of attorney can help close gaps.

Thus, your agent can rely on the living will when making real-time decisions in your name. Pursuing two separate documents may not be necessary, depending on where you live.

Research the requirements for a living will, power of attorney, or both, and contact an Attorney Real Estate Group. In this way, you and your loved ones will have peace of mind knowing that you can receive all the medical attention you need as you age and that we can create a customized document tailored to your medical care needs.

Hedy Ghavidel

HEDY GHAVIDEL Managing Attorney  Roseville Office  1-866-471-6981  info@attorneysre.com Bio...

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