When you’re setting up an advance directive as part of your estate plan, you are generally choosing between a medical power of attorney and a living will. These can both help with end-of-life care and medical decisions.
But which one is best for you? This is a question everyone needs to answer for themselves, so let’s look at some of the differences between the two.
The living will: Describing your decisions
The living will is essentially a document where you can provide instructions and let your preferences be known. For example, many people do not want to be kept on life support. They want all other types of treatment, but if they have to be on life support to survive, they would rather accept that it is their time. You could denote that you do not want these types of life-extending measures, saving your heirs from having to make that choice.
The power of attorney: Choosing an agent
With a medical power of attorney, you do not necessarily describe your own wishes, but you note who you want to make decisions for you. This can be helpful because it’s hard to predict every detail of a medical situation. The agent can make real-time decisions based on changing circumstances and advice from medical professionals.
Creating your plan
Which is best for you? Do you want to use both? No matter where you stand on these documents, they do help to show you the importance of creating your estate plan. You will need to know all of the legal steps to take to get it in place.