Differences Between a Living Will and a Power of Attorney?

There are a number of different legal documents that fall under the practice area of “estate planning.” The general purpose of this area of law is to assist you in planning what you would like to happen to your properties, assets, and yourself upon the end of your life. Many people will put off designating a power of attorney or creating a will because the thought of planning past your life is intimidating to consider. However, it is important to face these unavoidable circumstances head-on since you do not know when your life will come to an end. Attempting to formulate these legal plans all at once can be overwhelming, so it may be a good idea to take one at a time. Understanding the difference between the various estate planning documents is the first step in preparing for your future.

Living Will

A will can outline various intentions that you would like followed upon your inability to make your own decisions, either through a debilitating illness or death. This can include how your personal possessions are distributed among family members or friends. However, it is also a good idea to explain in-depth about how you would like your medical treatments handled. You may highlight any of the following treatments in your will and list whether or not you would want this to be done to keep you alive:

  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Tube feeding
  • Mechanical ventilation for breathing
  • Dialysis
  • Level of comfort care
  • Organ donation upon death

For those who feel strongly about staying alive without the intervention of medical assistance or machines, they may include Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) or Do Not Intubate (DNI) orders. It can be emotionally painful for someone else to make this decision for you, which is why many will include these orders in their will as part of their wishes.

Power of Attorney

The primary purpose of naming a power of attorney is to designate a person who will make your medical decisions in the event that you are incapable of doing so yourself. Many people will designate a spouse or close family member as their power of attorney in addition to formulating a will. You may be able to outline your medical wishes in a living will, but it is impossible to predict every possible medical decision that could appear. The thought of being incapable of making your own decisions can be terrifying, but selecting who would make these decisions for you and discussing what you would like these decisions to be with that individual places the power back in your hands.

Contact a Woodstock Estate Planning Lawyer

If you are considering writing down your intentions for your future, it is imperative that you seek out an experienced estate planning attorney’s help. In order to be sure that your documents are valid and touch on all of the important areas, an attorney should be present. At the Prime Law Group, LLC, our lawyers understand how emotional the estate planning process can be and we are here to help guide you through it. For assistance with formulating a will or designating a power of attorney, contact our McHenry County estate planning attorneys at 815-338-2040 to schedule a free consultation.

Source: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/living-wills/art-20046303