A healthcare power of attorney and a living will are two distinct legal documents, each designed to address a different requirement regarding medical care. Knowing the difference avoids significant confusion for your caregivers and saves emotional turmoil for your family.
A healthcare power of attorney authorizes another person to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated or unconscious. For example, your healthcare agent would decide whether your surgeon should remedy a blocked artery found during a routine surgery.
A living will is a declaration of how you wish to be treated when a qualified physician determines there is not realistic hope of recovery. During this end-stage of treatment, your living will guides your healthcare providers so that a loved one is not forced to make a decision they are not prepared to make – such as telling the doctor to pull the plug.
Save your family the guilt of making your final decision and ensure you live with dignity.