Should you have a living will or power of attorney?

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2021 | blog, wills and trusts

Estate plans not only to protect your family after you are gone. They can also safeguard you while you are still alive.

Certain legal documents ensure you can communicate your medical wishes to health care staff in the event of serious illness or injury. According to WebMD, advance directives like the following offer a great deal of peace of mind. Here are a few things to consider.

Living wills

Living wills explicitly state your desires should you experience a life-threatening medical condition. You can choose which treatments you accept, such as the administration of pain medication to make you comfortable. You can also state which treatments doctors should not use, such as life-preserving treatments like CPR and mechanical ventilation.

Powers of attorney

A medical power of attorney gives another person the authority to make health care decisions on your behalf. This person can make your desires known to medical staff when you cannot communicate, while also providing information to loved ones. You can choose any person you trust to act on your behalf, such as a spouse, sibling, parent, child, or friend.

When searching for a good candidate, consider how comfortable the person is speaking to authority figures, such as doctors and other health care staff. Some people can find this intimidating, so the person you choose must exhibit assertiveness to ensure medical staff honors your wishes. The person must also not let their personal beliefs get in the way of your instructions.

While both types of advance directives offer many benefits, combining them can have an even greater impact. A medical power of attorney can communicate the wishes in your living will directly to health care staff and family, which ensures the greatest clarity when receiving end-of-life care.

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